Third Annual Scotchmer Memorial Lecture, Toulouse, January 2016
The rise, salience, and decline? of the system of natural liberty...
Gift, exchange, property, extortion, theft, and murder: Six modes of human interaction.
- Gift--when you do something, and then you give it away with no expectation of reciprocity of any kind
- Exchange--when the relationship is, in some sense, balanced: either one shot or extended over time, either accounted for to the penny or simply rough equivalence
- Property--when your own stuff is yours, and everyone agrees that it is yours and will help you safeguard it if necessary
- Extortion--when you take stuff via threat of theft or murder, but do so in a way that leaves the victim in a position to recover and then be milked again
- Theft--when you take stuff because you would like to have it
- Murder--when you kill people, either because of anger management issues, to reduce crowding of scarce resources that are in a common pool, because you do not think that you can make your theft stick as long as they live, or out of fear that they will murder you.