Reflections on the Minimal State

15 de octubre de 2013    |  

John Hasnas reflects on the long-existing argument of the minimal state. Over the years, a state has been defined as an organization that monopolizes basic policing, rule-making and adjudicative functions within an identifiable area, and funds them through some form of tax. Libertarians argue that a minimal state - a state that limits itself to fulfilling only these functions -is morally justifiable. They agree that a market system cannot supply these “public goods”, as it would incur in risk of collusive monopolistic behaviors. Anarchists argue that a minimal state is not justifiable, since there are functional examples of private provision of these services.

Hasnas brings focus away from the empirical premise, as he corrects the normative premise to this argument: that if the market cannot, government must provide these services itself. A remedial state, he says, is a state that ensures people get the services they need, but does not need to provide them itself. Establishing the remedial state, experimentally, in the future, is an ideal means to prove whether or not the market can be trusted to provide the services everyone now assumes have to be provided by government.


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín