What to call "Econ-Libertarians"?

Robin Hanson (hanson@econ.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 10:29:35 -0700

Hi everyone.  I'm a new (research-only) faculty here at UCB with strong
libertarian interests.

I want to label to describe and distinguish myself among libertarians,
but I'm not sure if there is
already an appropriate term, or whether I need to invent a new one.   I
understand "minarchist"
vs. "anarchist" and  "left-leaning" vs. "right-leaning".

But I think what distinguishes me most from most libertarians is that,
as an economist, I am very
comfortable with the standard economist's "Pareto" criteria for
preferring one social institution
to another: we seek institutions whose consequences make most everyone
better off according to
their own estimation.   In contrast, a great many libertarians seem to
focus on natural rights of
ownership and the a priori immorality of violating a "non-coersion"
principle.  As I can make no
sense of this alternative style of analysis, I don't have much to talk
about at a fundamental level
(though we can of course talk at more tactical levels).

I know David Friedman shares my economic style of analysis, but I seem
to find very few others.
Is there a name given to people like me, or should I just make up the
phrase "econ-libertarian"?


Robin Hanson
hanson@econ.berkeley.edu    http://hanson.berkeley.edu/
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health   510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360    FAX: 510-643-8614