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Title: Out of a Slave Contract: The Analysis of Pre-Hobbesian Anarchists in the Old Testament
Authors: Wagner-Tsukamoto, Sigmund
First Published: 5-Aug-2009
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Constitutional Political Economy, 2010, 21 (3), pp. 288-307.
Abstract: 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.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10602-009-9084-6
ISSN: 1043-4062
eISSN: 1572-9966
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009. Deposited with reference to the publisher's self-archiving policy available on SHERPA/RoMEO
Description: The original publication is available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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