Rent seeking or Privilege Seeking?

From: D
To: Walter Block
Subject: Rent seeking or Privilege Seeking?

Dear Walter,

See my piece on this in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.



Dear David:

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;

Block, Walter. 2000B. “Word Watch,” April 20;; accessed on 4-23-16

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. seeking, market failure

Block, Walter E.  2015. “The rent seeker.” Romanian Economic and Business Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 7-14, Fall;

Best regards,



2:09 am on February 7, 2019