Towards Abolishing the Renting of Persons

This paper is a write-up of a speech given in 2017 at a centennial ‘celebration’ of the 1917 Russian Revolution at the Haus der Kunst in Munich.

Conceptual Errors in the Arrow-Debreu Model

The highly mathematical nature of the Arrow-Debreu and other similar models of general equilibrium hide rather than elucidate the nature of equilibrium in a private property market economy where all factors of production may be purchased or rented.

Fallacies of Corporate Analysis

Our goal is to analyze a miscellany of fallacies concerning the Citizens United case, corporate personhood, the stakeholder theory, the affected interests principle, and finally ending with the deeper fallacies concerning the rights of capital that are embedded in the conventional economic theories of capital and corporate finance.

The Case for Workplace Democracy

“In Chapter 11, David Ellerman offers a theoretical justification for a form of workplace democracy. He argues that a philosophical defence of workers’ control of workplaces and the products of their labour is possible outside of the lineage of Marxist and communist theory.” [Editor’s introduction] Amen

Lord Eustace Percy’s “Unknown State” Lecture

Lord Eustace Percy was a Conservative public servant but was better known as a serious thinker, indeed, as the “Minister of Thinking.” There is a remarkable and much-quoted passage in his 1944 Riddell Lecture The Unknown State.

A Theory of Inalienability: Towards a Theory of Classical Liberal Jurisprudence

This is a draft paper that presents some of the arguments I have been making for years in a framework analogous to Type I and Type II error in statistics–which seems to clarify the arguments. Historically, the sophisticated arguments for slavery and autocratic government were consent-based in terms of implicit or explicit contracts. And the legalized oppression of married women was based on the coverture marriage contract. Hence the critiques developed in the abolitionist, democratic, and feminist movements were not simply arguments for consent as opposed to coercion, but arguments against certain voluntary contracts, e.g., in the form of inalienable rights arguments.

Talk: Neo-abolitionism and Marxism

These are the slides for a talk given in Munich in November 2017 at a conference on the Russian Revolution. The basic argument is that much of what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century still sounds radical today. The reason is that Marx, Lenin, and the Russian Revolution set back the Left for a century and a half.

Talk: A Tale of Two Invalid Contracts: Coverture and Employment

These are the slides for a talk that focuses on the parallel inalienable rights arguments against the now-outlawed coverture marriage contract and the yet-to-be-outlawed employment contract.

Review-Essay on Elizabeth Anderson’s “Private Government” book

In her recent book Private Government [2017], Elizabeth Anderson makes a powerful but pragmatic case against the abuses experienced by employees in conventional corporations. The purpose of this review-essay is to contrast Anderson’s pragmatic critique of many abuses in the employment relation with a principled critique of the employment relationship itself.

Listen Libertarians! A Review of John Tomasi’s “Free Market Fairness”

John Tomasi’s 2012 book, Free Market Fairness, has been well received. On the dust jacket, Tyler Cowen proclaims it “one of the very best philosophical treatments of libertarian thought, ever” and Deirdre McCloskey calls it a “long and friendly conversation between Friedrich Hayek and John Rawls — a conversation which, astonishingly, reaches agreement.”