July 9, 2015 Print

In order to take the steps necessary to achieve a truly free society, it’s important to envision how that society would work in practice. One of the world’s foremost libertarian theorists, David D. Friedman, recently visited India for a series of lectures hosted by Atlas Network partner the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), along with Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), the UChicago Center in Delhi, and Students for Liberty South Asia. Friedman spoke about the new third edition of his most famous book, The Machinery of Freedom; looked at how technology is transforming intellectual property; and drew on his expertise in law and economics to explain how laws can function without the state.

“I think governments are bad at making and enforcing laws for many of the same reasons they are bad at growing food, building cars and running schools,” Friedman said in a Business Standard interview about the lecture series. “The standard classical liberal theory is that nearly everything should be done by the market but the legal framework be provided by government. The problem with this is that if the government is not competent to do so many other things, do you really want it to do something as important as making laws? The standard response is that there is no alternative and so a long time ago, I got interested in examining whether there were plausible institutions under which you could have a legal framework other than the government.”

Son of Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman and economist Rose Friedman — as well as father of Patri Friedman, co-founder of Atlas Network partner the Seasteading Institute — David Friedman is an economist, physicist, legal scholar, and libertarian theorist who has had a lengthy academic career in the economic analysis of law, and is currently a professor of law at Santa Clara University.

Listen to Friedman’s lecture “Law Without the State,” from the UChicago Center in Delhi.

Listen to Friedman’s lecture The Machinery of Freedom: How to Privatise Everything,” from Mumbai.

View the event page for Friedman’s lecture “Digital Content, Intellectual Property & Innovation,” from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB).

Read “Centralised coordination easy to understand,” at Business Standard.

Read “You don’t want the government controlling education,” at MyLaw.net.

Read “India Must Evolve Its Own Form of Capitalism,” at the New Indian Express.

View photographs from Friedman’s “Law Without the State” lecture.