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Private GovernanceCreating Order in Economic and Social Life$
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Edward Peter Stringham

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199365166

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199365166.001.0001

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Beyond the Deus ex Machina Theory of Law

Beyond the Deus ex Machina Theory of Law

Chapter:
(p.9) Chapter 2 Beyond the Deus ex Machina Theory of Law
Source:
Private Governance
Author(s):

Edward Peter Stringham

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199365166.003.0002

Most theorists are strongly influenced by legal centralism, the view that order is attributable to law and that government police, courts, and regulators have the knowledge and incentives to solve problems in a low-cost way. But whether one hopes for government to eliminate fraud, deal with principal-agent problems, protect property rights, or enhance markets in any other way, law enforcers are often absent, or incapable of, or uninterested in, solving problems. Assuming that government will solve the problem is a nonstarter. With external enforcement lacking, private parties can either live with problems or take steps to mitigate them using private governance.

Keywords:   legal centralism, nirvana fallacy, incentive problem, principal-agent problem, private governance

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