Bruno Leoni was surely the most important Italian free market thinker of the 2nd half of the 20th century. Here we have an outstanding analysis of the relationship between law and freedom, one that follows up on Bastiat and, many argue, exceeds Hayek in rigor and consistency.
Leoni explains the features of law under freedom and show how the lawmakers themselves end up undermining those features such as stability, universality, and non-arbitrariness. He sees the greatest threat to the old liberal notion of the rule of law as the state itself.
Leoni is one of those great thinkers who grew more hard core as he got older, and, in some ways, we can see the essential Rothbardianism of his thought in this classic. It is not only an excellent treatise on the history of the law; it is an essential treatise for understanding the true relationship between law and free economies.
There is no question that Leoni's contribution has been unjustly overlooked. The availability of this work helps to rectify this situation.
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