Benjamin W. Powell is research fellow at the Independent Institute and assistant professor of economics at Suff olk University. He is author of more than two dozen scholarly articles and editor of the book, Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Development.
Randall G. Holcombe is research fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. He is author of twelve books and more than 100 articles published in academic and professional journals. His books include Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America, Public Policy and the Quality of Life, From Liberty to Democracy: Th e Transformation of American Government, and Entrepreneurship and Economic Progress.
Political and economic systems either allow exchange and resource allocation to take place through mutual agreement under a system of liberalism, or force them to take place under a system of cronyism in which some people have the power to direct the activities of others.
This book, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, seeks to clarify the differences between liberalism and cronyism by scrutinizing the actual operation of various political and economic systems. Examples include historical systems such as fascism in Germany between the world wars and socialism in the former Soviet Union, as well as contemporary systems such as majoritarianism and industrial policy.
By examining how real governments have operated, this book demonstrates why—despite their diverse designs—in practice all political and economic systems are variants of either liberalism or cronyism.