David D. Friedman

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David Director Friedman (born February 12, 1945) is an American economist, author, and libertarian theorist. He is known as a leader in anarchist political theory, which is the subject of his most popular book, The Machinery of Freedom (1973, revised 1989). He has authored others, including Price Theory: An Intermediate Text (1986), Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters (2000), Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life (1996), and Future Imperfect (2008).[1]


Life and work

David Friedman is the son of economists Milton and Rose Friedman. His son, Patri Friedman, has also written about anarcho-capitalism, particularly seasteading. David Friedman holds an A.B. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago, although he is most known for work in other fields. He is currently a professor of law at Santa Clara University, and a contributing editor for Liberty magazine. He is an atheist.[2]


In his book The Machinery of Freedom (1973), Friedman sketched a form of anarcho-capitalism where all goods and services including law itself can be produced by the free market. This differs from the version proposed by Murray Rothbard, where a legal code would first be consented to by the parties involved in setting up the anarcho-capitalist society. Friedman advocates an incrementalist approach to achieve anarcho-capitalism by gradual privatization of areas that government is involved in, ultimately privatizing law and order itself. In the book, he states his opposition to violent anarcho-capitalist revolution.[3]

He uses a consequentialist version of anarcho-capitalism. Friedman's version of individualist anarchism is not based on the assumption of inviolable natural rights but rather rests on a cost/benefit analysis of state versus no state.[4] It is contrasted with the natural-rights approach as propounded most notably by Austrian School economist and libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard.

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