The Government Game

Now consider the government game. We will take as given that the government is formed as a grand coalition of all players in the government game. Marx (who after all originated the concept of capitalism as an economic system) regarded capitalist government as a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie,” that is, a system in which laborers would be excluded from participation in politics by a property test for the franchise or some other unprivileged status. (This does not conflict in any way with the views of Smith, Malthus, and Ricardo.) Thus, for Marx (1848), “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” Accordingly, laborers are not players in the government game. The governing grand coalition of capitalists and landlords is not an agent in the production or exchange games. While further formal development will be beyond the scope of this sketch, it seems that a government of proprietors would serve their interests by establishing a regime of property rights and largely unrestricted contracts, while mercantilist measures, which in practice favor some proprietors but not others, would be a subject of controversy.

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