Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Mause I 158f
Reciprocity/Common/Externality/Common goods/Buchanan: External effects arise when someone claims a right against others without this right being matched by a duty to compensate others for the costs imposed by consumption. The exemption from the obligation to pay in return induces an increased demand compared to the allocation on the perfect market, because the costs - in the form of a complete or partial renunciation of consumption - are externalized to others. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) therefore made the creation of reciprocity the central principle of solving the common problems he described in anarchy. (1)
Reciprocity/Problems:
1. Rule Problem: what rule can be used to restore reciprocity in rationing and reduce excess demand for the common good? The reduction in demand requires a "behavioural exchange". (2) Everyone shall waive that part of the right which he has exercised, provided that all others waive in a similar manner.
2. Self-binding problem: the parties involved must be committed to cooperative behaviour in a situation corresponding to the Prisoner's Dilemma. Two possibilities: a) State intervention (see Interventionism/Habermas) b) Self-management. See an overview in: (3).


1. James M. Buchanan, R. D. Congleton, Politics by principle, not interest. Toward nondiscriminatory democracy. Cambridge 1998.
2. J.A. Buchanan, Die Grenzen der Freiheit – Zwischen Anarchie und Leviathan. Tübingen 1984, S. 85
3. E. Ostrom, Governing the commons. The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge 1990, S. 8-13.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

EconBuchan I
James M. Buchanan
Politics as Public Choice Carmel, IN 2000

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-08-18
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