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Out of a Slave Contract: The Analysis of Pre-Hobbesian Anarchists in the Old Testament

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journal contribution
posted on 18.04.2012, 12:01 by Sigmund Wagner-Tsukamoto
Buchanan’s constitutional economics takes social conflict (the ‘Hobbesian jungle’, ‘Hobbesian anarchy’) as the starting point for the analysis of social contract. Buchanan argues that in the presence of social conflict either some social contract (e.g. some system of formal laws) or some generally shared moral precepts are needed to resolve the predicament that social conflict presents. The present paper argues that a social conflict model also served the Old Testament as an analytical starting point. However, contrary to both standard theological interpretation and Buchanan’s explicit claims, I argue that the Old Testament had already made an attempt to model ‘Hobbesian anarchy’ in order to approach social conflict in an essentially modern, non-metaphysical manner. I argue that figures like Adam and Eve or Jacob, in the tradition of Hobbesian anarchists, questioned godly authority and the associated imposed, authoritarian, metaphysical social contract. In this way, one can detect a modern, contractarian constitutional economics in pre-Enlightenment literature (and in Genesis, specifically) in direct contrast to Buchanan’s claims.

History

Citation

Constitutional Political Economy, 2010, 21 (3), pp. 288-307.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Management

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Constitutional Political Economy

Publisher

Springer

issn

1043-4062

eissn

1572-9966

Copyright date

2009

Available date

18/04/2012

Publisher version

http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/political+science/journal/10602

Notes

The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com

Language

en