Rev Austrian Econ (2010) 23:97–102 DOI 10.1007/s11138-009-0099-z Spontaneous order and positive legislation: Ruminating on Daniel Shapiro’s justification of the welfare state Richard E. Wagner Published online: 21 October 2009 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009 In his thoughtful and carefully constructed book, Daniel Shapiro (2007) uses arguments and findings from social science to rebut various claims advanced by political philosophers in support of the welfare state. He summarizes his claim thusly “welfare state institutions fail to be justified when compared with viable, more market-based alternatives—specifically, private compulsory insurance and private charities” [p. 1]. The book starts by describing four philosophical orientations that have been employed to support the welfare state, with the remainder of the book offering a sequence of chapters which treat in turn medical care, old-age annuities, and means-tested payments (welfare in its narrow sense). For each of these three components of the welfare state, Shapiro seeks to explain why the present system of bureaucratically based arrangements is inferior to a system of market-based arrangements. For each of the four philosophical orientations, Shapiro argues that their normative standards and concerns are better met through market-organized compulsion than through bureaucratically organized compulsion. Despite several remarks to the
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 21, 2009
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