Those who believe in a small state and self-regulated markets could claim JRR Tolkien and Elinor Ostrom as two of their own
Tolkien became a cult figure among hippies in the 1960s, for whom LOTR worked on a number of levels: peace-lovers versus warmongers; military-industrial complex versus local smallholders; the lust for power versus individual freedom. These days he would have celebrated the victory of the people of Totnes in their campaign to keep a branch of Costa out of their town.
Yet those who believe in a small state and self-regulated markets could also claim Tolkien as one of their own. The Shire had hardly any government: families, for the most part, managed their own affairs and the only real official was the mayor, who oversaw the postal service and the watch.
Hobbits enjoyed a pipe and a mug of ale: it is unlikely Tolkien would have been a fan of smoking bans and minimum unit prices for alcohol. Like Elinor Ostrom, he might even have been invited to deliver the Hayek lecture at the UK’s bastion of free-market thinking, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
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