Chaos Theory, by: Bob Murphy

Chaos Theory, by Bob Murphy

Review by Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director


Bob Murphy, author of Chaos Theory, is a noted anarchocapitalist (ancap) economist who has worked at several Libertarian institutes and think tanks. He has also written for a number of prominent newspapers, journals, and publications. He is considered one of the most influential economists of the last two decades.          

Chaos Theory is a collection of two of his essays laying out the ancap case for private military defense services and private public safety / police services. The essays follow the theories of Rothbard, and seeks to develop the ideas around private insurance as a means to supplant state intervention to protect the individual and individual property from both malignant state actors and criminal perpetrators. It was published in 2002, before Murphy completed his economics PhD.

The essays are certainly worth the read for anyone even slightly interested in Libertarian economic theory. While there is certainly an ample amount of ancap economics literature available, much of it is esoteric, dry, acroamatic, didactic, and/or pedantic. In other words, it is difficult to get someone not into economics or Libertarianism to engage with it. Chaos Theory has no such limitations.

Even when he was writing more than 20 years ago, Murphy proves why he is one of our best voices on economics with the logical flow of his arguments, the ease of reading his writing style, and the overall accessibility of the essays. Further, it is a quick read, and most people who have even a perfunctory interest in economics should be able to get through it easily.

Of course, it is reflective of the time Murphy wrote it, as he has become a significantly more polished writer since then.

Regardless of people's feelings on how compelling his arguments Murphy's arguments are, in Chaos Theory, named for the order which arises out of the supposed chaos of a stateless society, the book sets the stage for some important discussions in Libertarian philosophy on governance and economics. 

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  • Rob yates
    published this page in Book Review 2024-03-31 23:42:55 -0400
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