ON THE (NON-)CONTRACTUAL NATURE OF RULES: CONTRASTING DURKHEIM AND BUCHANAN
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The paper examines the viewpoints of James Buchanan and Emile Durkheim on the question whether the maintenance of social order can be understood as resulting from contractual exchange of rational individuals. It is argued that neither Buchanan's normative individualism requires considering the maintenance of social order as an outcome of an exchange process, nor Durkheim's notion of moral integration requires embracing methodological holism. On this basis, the paper proposes an individualist understanding of social order as collective self-sufficiency rather than exchange. The broader implication of this argument is that institutions must be generally viewed as based on variable combinations of self-sufficiency and exchange as alternative mechanisms of gratifying human wants.
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