Bruno Leoni on the different Ways in which Needs can be satisfied, either voluntarily through the Market or coercively through the State (1963)

Bruno Leoni

Found in Freedom and the Law (LF ed.)

In a lecture given to the Freedom School in Colorado Springs in 1963, the Italian liberal jurist Leoni examines the differences between satisfying needs through voluntary cooperation (i.e. the market) and coercion (i.e. voting):

Legislation is a result of an all-or-none decision. Either you win and get exactly what you want, or you lose and get exactly nothing. Even worse, you get something that you do not want and you have to pay for it just as if you had wanted it. In this sense winners and losers in voting are like winners and losers in the field. Voting appears to be not so much a reproduction of the market operation as a symbolization of a battle in the field.

Bruno Leoni played an important role in the revival of classical liberal ideas in the post-war period with his legal writings, his editorship of the journal Il Politico, and as President of the Mont Pélérin Society. The Mont Pélérin Society was founded in 1947 by the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. Leoni was secretary of the society for many many years before being elected president in 1967 shortly before his tragic death.