The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society

David T. Beito, Peter Gordon, Alexander Tabarrok
University of Michigan Press, 2002 - 462 páginas
The rise and decline of American civic life has provoked wide-ranging responses from all quarters of society. Unfortunately, many proposals for improving our communities rely on renewed governmental efforts without a similar recognition that the inflexibility and poor accountability of governments have often worsened society's ills. The Voluntary City investigates the history of large-scale, private provision of social services, the for-profit provision of urban infrastructure and community governance, and the growing privatization of residential life in the United States to argue that most decentralized, competitive markets can contribute greatly to community renewal.
Among the fascinating topics covered are: how mutual-aid societies in America, Great Britain, and Australia provided their members with medical care, unemployment insurance, sickness insurance, and other social services before the welfare state; how private law, known historically as the law merchant, is returning in the form of arbitration; and why the rise of neighborhood associations represents the most comprehensive privatization occurring in the United States today.
The volume concludes with an epilogue that places the discoveries of The Voluntary City within the theory of market and government failure and discusses the implications of these discoveries for theories about the private provision of public goods. A refreshing challenge to the position that insists government alone can improve community life, The Voluntary City will be of special interest to students of history, law, urban life, economics, and government.
David T. Beito is Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama. Peter Gordon is Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and Department of Economics, University of Southern California. Alexander Tabarrok is Vice President and Research Director, the Independent Institute.

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Without a strong government, who would build the roads, how would children be educated, how would the poor pay for health care, how would urban planning and zoning be handled, can the law be provided privately?
Anyone who has studied or talked about the free market has inevitably asked and been asked these questions. This amazing book throughly answers the above questions--and more--by looking at historical situations where each of the above activities was handled by the free market. The authors detail how these services were provided, who paid for them, how well they worked out, and how the government was able to take control of these activities despite the success of the voluntary sector.
This is one of the most important books that I have ever read and I highly recommend it for anyone who is curious about just how things would work without central planning.


Toward a Rebirth of Civil Society
LaissezFaire Urban Planning
The Private Places of St Louis Urban Infrastructure through Private Planning
The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America
Entrepreneurial City Planning Chicagos Central Manufacturing District
Justice without Government The Merchant Courts of Medieval Europe and Their Modern Counterparts
The Private Provision of Police during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
This Enormous Army The MutualAid Tradition of American Fraternal Societies before the Twentieth Century
Education in the Voluntary City
Proprietary Communities and Community Associations
Contractual Governments in Theory and Practice
Privatizing the Neighborhood A Proposal to Replace Zoning with Private Collective Property Rights to Existing Neighborhoods
The Case for Land Lease versus Subdivision Homeowners Associations Reconsidered
Market Challenges and Government Failure Lessons from the Voluntary City

Medical Care through Mutual Aid The Friendly Societies of Great Britain

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