Re: POLI: Random democracy

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 12:55:44 -0800 (PST)

Lee Daniel Crocker writes:
>> I'm not sure what you mean by "debunked". Coase has certainly not
>> proved that torts do better than legislatures at dealing with
>> externalities and public goods/bads.
>Again, that presupposes a definition of "better". What Coase showed
>was that in a free market, the very idea of "public good" is a myth.
>Any initial assignment of property rights will result in an efficient
>solution in a free market, subject only to transaction costs.

The very idea of a public good does not imply anything else, and so is
not a myth. The standard economic concept of a public good is only
meant to delimit a certain set of situations, and does by itself imply
what the best way to deal with them is.

Robin D. Hanson