Prof. Bryan Caplan

Econ 854


HW #4 (please type; answers should be 2 pages, double-spaced)


Answer any THREE questions!


1.      Meet two of Tullock’s challenges: (a) Tell me what’s so bad about dictatorship. (b) Give me one good reason not to invade Brazil.


2.      What is the social function of totalitarian ideology (e.g. Leninism, Nazism, Mao Zedong Thought)?  How does it compare to mundane voter irrationality in non-totalitarian societies?  Do totalitarian elites sincerely believe it?  Can it help sustain totalitarian rule if no one believes it?  Carefully explain your answer.


3.      Reformulate the traditional public choice case for constitutional reform to deal with the “endogenous institutions” criticism.  Suggest a specific constitutional amendment that would significantly mitigate a major political failure and realistically attain “quasi-unanimous” support.


4.      Robin Hanson’s favorite slogan is “FWST” – “Futarchy would solve this.”  Present an important political failure and carefully explain how futarchy would solve it.  How would critics respond?  How would Hanson respond to the critics?  Who’s right?


5.      Compare Cowen's argument against anarcho-capitalism to the standard critiques addressed by Friedman and Rothbard.


6.      If viable seasteads were established in the next two decades, how would existing states deal with them?  Is there any reason to expect seasteading to be more successful than other “start your own country” projects?  Why or why not?