The 'Minimal' State Reconsidered
Governance on the Margin
Originally published in The Review of Austrian Economics
Classical liberal scholars have defined a “minimal state” as performing certain basic functions that include the provision of policing, courts, and national defense. We argue that these functions need not be fully provided by the state. Private provision of all three of these functions exists. Thus a truly minimal state would provide these functions only on the margins where private provision fails. Thus, a truly minimal state is much more minimal than scholars have traditionally envisioned.