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The Structure of LibertyJustice and the Rule of Law$
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Randy E. Barnett

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297291

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297297.001.0001

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The Problem of Enforcement Abuse

The Problem of Enforcement Abuse

(p.238) Twelve The Problem of Enforcement Abuse
The Structure of Liberty

Randy E. Barnett

Oxford University Press

The Single Power Principle specifies that there must exist, somewhere in society, a coercive monopoly of power. Adherence to this principle leads to serious risks of enforcement abuse because of problems of selection, corruption capture, and the halo effect. Various institutional features to deal with the problem of enforcement abuse by a coercive monopoly of power have been tried including elections, federalism, and free emigration. Each attempts to combat the ‘top‐down’ or hierarchical relationship between ruler and subject that is inherent to a coercive monopoly of power by establishing a more ‘bottom‐up’ or horizontal relationship. Though these three practices have largely failed in keeping a coercive monopoly of power within the constraints defined by the liberal conception of justice and the rule of law, each reflects a more fundamental principle that needs to be more robustly incorporated into institutional arrangements: reciprocity, checks and balances, and the power of secession.

Keywords:   capture, checks and balances, elections, enforcement, federalism, free emigration, halo effect, reciprocity, secession, selection

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