Polycentric Law

The Enterprise of Law, by Bruce Benson (San Francisco: Pacific Research Foundation, 1990). Benson, a lawyer and economics professor, shows how the takeover by the state of law provision has led to disorder and chaos. This work contains useful histories of tort and criminal law, as well as anthropological evidence of the functioning of customary law and economic analysis of law and criminality.

Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland, by William I. Miller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). This is a fascinating study of how a fully private system of concurrent jurisdictions, based on restitution rather than retribution, functioned to protect public order and individual rights.

Medieval Iceland, by Jesse Byock (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). This book, in addition to being a fascinating study of a rich culture, shows how the Icelandic "Things" were neither kin-based nor geographical monopolies, but voluntary associations to provide protection of rights and order.

The Law Merchant: The Evolution of Commercial Law, by Leon E. Trakman (Littleton, Colo.: Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1983). See the discussion in the section on Law and the Free Society above.

Without the Law: Administrative Justice and Legal Pluralism in Nineteenth- Century England, by H.W. Arthur (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985). This book looks at the growth of private arbitration services in Victorian England and the revival of old jurisdictions as ways of circumventing the state.

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