One of the most astonishing features of social, economic and political life is that large-scale patterns, structures and behavioral regularities sometimes organize themselves without anyone intentionally planning their occurrence or without anyone deliberately deciding to bring them about. They evolve as a specific kind of unintended consequence of human action. They are the result of invisible hands. Building on the classic concept "the invisible hand" by Adam Smith, this study presents a general approach, based on the theory of games and evolutionary theory, to explain such large-scale unintended consequences within markets, communities and the state. This analysis by Nils Karlson is further used to explain the growth of the modern "welfare" state. It shows how an unconstrained democratic state through two distinct invisible-hand processes, the logic of conceit and the logic of opportunism, may develop into a "equilibrium" state, The State of State. His work moves classic political economy into the world of political sociology. A normative contractual model is presented and the relative desirability of the state, markets and communities is discussed. A major conclusion is that it is a choice between imperfect alternatives, involving hard decision about more or less rather than absolute judgments of an either/or variety. It is nevertheless suggested that society ought to be radically depoliticized and that constitutional constraints should be introduced in the universe of policy making. Nils Karlson is the president of the City University of Stockholm in Sweden. Prior to that he served as lecturer in Economics and Political Science at Uppsala University. He did post graduate studies at George Mason University. He has worked on the editorial page of Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish newspaper has previously been published in newspapers, journals, and edited books. In practical affairs he served as an adviser to the Swedish Minister of Education and Science.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc ISBN: 9780765806505 Number of pages: 248
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