David D. Friedman

David Director Friedman
Chicago School of Economics
David Friedman discusses his recent book Future Imperfect at the Cato Institute, November 6, 2008.
Born 12 February 1945 (1945-02-12) (age 66)
Nationality American
Institution Santa Clara University
Field Economics, Law
Alma mater Harvard University
University of Chicago
Influences Ronald Coase, Friedrich Hayek, Robert A. Heinlein, Milton Friedman, Adam Smith
Influenced Bryan Caplan, Patri Friedman, Peter Leeson, Edward Stringham
Contributions The Machinery of Freedom

David Director Friedman (born February 12, 1945) is an American economist, author, and Right-libertarian theorist. He is known as a leader in anarcho-capitalist political theory, which is the subject of his most popular book, The Machinery of Freedom (1973, revised 1989). He has authored others, including Price Theory: An Intermediate Text (1986), Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters (2000), Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life (1996), and Future Imperfect (2008).[1]


Life and work

David Friedman is the son of economists Rose and Milton Friedman. His son, Patri Friedman, has also written about anarcho-capitalism, particularly seasteading. David Friedman holds an A.B. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago, although he is most known for work in other fields. He is currently a professor of law at Santa Clara University, and a contributing editor for Liberty magazine. He is an atheist.[2]


In his book The Machinery of Freedom (1973), Friedman sketched a form of anarcho-capitalism where all goods and services including law itself can be produced by the free market. This differs from the version proposed by Murray Rothbard, where a legal code would first be consented to by the parties involved in setting up the anarcho-capitalist society. Friedman advocates an incrementalist approach to achieve anarcho-capitalism by gradual privatization of areas that government is involved in, ultimately privatizing law and order itself. In the book, he states his opposition to violent anarcho-capitalist revolution.[3]

He uses a consequentialist version of anarcho-capitalism. Friedman's version of individualist anarchism is not based on the assumption of inviolable natural rights but rather rests on a cost-benefit analysis of state versus no state.[4] It is contrasted with the natural-rights approach as propounded most notably by Austrian School economist, libertarian theorist and anarcho-capitalist founder Murray Rothbard.

Non-academic interests

Friedman is a longtime member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, where he is known as Duke Cariadoc of the Bow. He is known throughout the worldwide society for his articles on the philosophy of recreationism and practical historical recreations, especially those relating to the medieval Middle East.[5] His work is compiled in the popular Cariadoc's Miscellany.[6] He is sometimes credited with founding the largest and longest-running SCA event, the Pennsic War; as king of the Middle Kingdom he challenged the East Kingdom, and later as king of the East accepted the challenge…and lost.[7]

He is a long-time science fiction fan, and has written a fantasy novel, Harald (Baen Books, 2006).





  1. ^ Free Market Mojo. "An Interview with David D. Friedman".
  2. ^ Friedman, David D. "Atheism and Religion", Ideas.
  3. ^ Friedman, David D. "Revolution Is the Hell of It". The Machinery of Freedom. pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-8126-9069-9. 
  4. ^ Morris, Christopher. 1992. An Essay on the Modern State. Cambridge University Press. p. 62.
  5. ^ Friedman, David D. "On Restructuring the SCA"
  6. ^ Cariadoc's Miscellany
  7. ^ F.L. Watkins (Fólki Þorgilsson). 2005. HERSTAĐR-SAGA: An Incomplete History of Pennsic © Folump Enterprises

External links

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