"Virtual Federalism"

Arnold Kling:

I want to take this out of the context of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and suggest that it is a great idea in general. I live in teachers-occupied territory. That is, the teachers' union governs Montgomery County, Maryland. I would like to have a different sovereign, but without having to move. Under virtual federalism (as proposed in the widely-unread Unchecked and Unbalanced), we would unbundle the services that the County provides. I could then contract with another provider for trash collection, snow removal, fire protection, or other services.

Land-use regulation could primarily be handled at a neighborhood level. Roads could be privately owned and maintained, with electronic toll collection. (Not every trip need involve a toll. I might be able to buy a monthly pass at a flat rate that covers any trip other than during congested times.)

Concerning Tyler's point about dispute resolution, I think there would have to be courts that would resolve jurisdictional issues. Thus, there would have to be a court or similar body to handle land-use issues that cut across neighborhoods. Taxes would only be used to support such courts. Otherwise, public goods and services would be supported by user fees, membership fees, and donations.

I remember when Arnold couldn't discuss market anarchism without using the word "warlord". Our little economist is all grown up!

Over the last year or so, Arnold has become my favorite econblogger.

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Kling has been going on about

Kling has been going on about this notion of competitive governance for some time, back to his TCS days or earlier I think. At the same time he has always insisted on the "arbiter with the golden scepter" to avoid warlordism. So he hasn't actually grown up.

Kling seems proud to persist with beliefs he calls "wrong", despite continually receiving data going the other way. A lot of his writing exhibits the same sort of pathologizing the enemy that liberals have toward libertarians (or the right generally). I suppose his professed bitterness has something to do with it.

Here's an EconLog commenter

Here's an EconLog commenter complaining about how Kling misrepresents the state of economics:
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/05/better_regulati.html#109470

The comments there are heavily moderated, so it's a credit to them that such criticism is allowed. Myself, I am banned there. This has nothing to do with the bloggers, only the comments moderator. That is also the reason Barkley Rosser is boycotting their comments section.

Also banned, by the same

Also banned, by the same person. Unbanned, but since recent attempts to comment have failed (with a cryptic technical-sounding error message), I assume re-banned. I didn't bother attempting reinstatement a second time.

Yup, he still believes in the

Yup, he still believes in the "arbiter with the golden scepter".

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