Aug 14, 1999

Mario Rizzo: The State versus Civil Society

Mario Rizzo is currently an associate professor of economics at New York University and the director of the Program on the Foundations of the Market Economy. Rizzo is co-author (with Gerald O’Driscoll) of The Economics of Time and Ignorance (1985).

In this lecture given at an Institute for Economic Studies conference in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1999, Rizzo speaks about various problems the state has had with civil society throughout history. He gives three examples — Pliny the Younger and Trajan’s letters about licensing clubs, organizations, and fire departments; the Falun Gong movement in China, and the state of private universities in America. He says that by encouraging rent-seeking and lobbying efforts by private groups, the state’s attitude toward civil society over the course of history has shifted from distrust and outright hostility to one of pandering and encouraging complicity.