To: Walter Block
Subject: Rent seeking or Privilege Seeking?
See my piece on this in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.
We’re certainly on the same page when it comes to this issue. I like “loot seeking” better than “privilege seeking” (some privileges are legitimate) but both are way better than “rent seeking.” I think the reason the public choice people fastened onto that terminology is because they just don’t make a sharp distinction between coercion and voluntary action, between govts and markets. Who else would acquiesce in the notion of “theoretical (or virtual) unanymity” to describe a government that doesn’t compel people to join it those who wish to ignore it?
I’ve written a bit about this:
Block, 2000A, 200B, 2002, 2015;
Block, Walter E. 2000A. “Watch Your Language,” February 21; http://www.mises.org/fullarticle.asp?control=385&month=17&title=Watch+Your+Language&id=19; http://mises.org/daily/385
Block, Walter. 2000B. “Word Watch,” April 20; http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=414&FS=Word+Watch
Block, Walter E. 2002. “All Government is Excessive: A Rejoinder to ‘In Defense of Excessive Government’ by Dwight Lee,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 35-82. http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/16_3/16_3_3.pdf;
Block, Walter E. 2015. “The rent seeker.” Romanian Economic and Business Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 7-14, Fall; http://www.rebe.rau.ro/REBE_10_3_2015.pdf
Walter2:09 am on February 7, 2019 Email Walter E. Block