David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman

David D. Friedman
Born (1945-02-12) February 12, 1945
Nationality American
Institution Santa Clara University
Field Economics, Law
School/tradition Chicago School of Economics[1]
Alma mater Harvard University (BA)
University of Chicago (PhD)
Influences Ronald Coase, Friedrich Hayek, Robert A. Heinlein, Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman, Adam Smith, Richard Timberlake
Influenced Bryan Caplan, Patri Friedman, Peter Leeson, Edward Stringham
Contributions The Machinery of Freedom
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

David Director Friedman (born February 12, 1945) is an American economist, physicist, legal scholar, and libertarian theorist. He is known for his writings in market anarchist theory, which is the subject of his most popular book, The Machinery of Freedom (1973, revised 1989 and 2014). He has authored several other books and articles, including Price Theory: An Intermediate Text (1986), Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters (2000), Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life (1996), and Future Imperfect (2008).[2]

Life and work

David Friedman is the son of economists Rose and Milton Friedman. His son, Patri Friedman, has also written about libertarian theory and market anarchism, particularly seasteading. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1965, with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics.[3] He later earned a master's (1967) and a Ph.D. (1971) in theoretical physics from the University of Chicago.[4] He was previously a Markle Senior Fellow at New America Foundation from 2000 to 2002. He is currently a professor of law at Santa Clara University,[5] and a contributing editor for Liberty magazine. He is an atheist.[6]

The Machinery of Freedom

In his book The Machinery of Freedom (1973), Friedman sketched a form of anarcho-capitalism where all goods and services including law itself can be produced by the free market. This differs from the version proposed by Murray Rothbard, where a legal code would first be consented to by the parties involved in setting up the anarcho-capitalist society. Friedman advocates an incrementalist approach to achieve anarcho-capitalism by gradual privatization of areas that government is involved in, ultimately privatizing law and order itself. In the book, he states his opposition to violent anarcho-capitalist revolution.[7]

He advocates a consequentialist version of anarcho-capitalism. Friedman's version of individualist anarchism is not based on the assumption of inviolable natural rights but rather rests on a cost-benefit analysis of state versus no state.[8] It is contrasted with the natural-rights approach as propounded most notably by economist and libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard.

Non-academic interests

Friedman is a longtime member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, where he is known as Duke Cariadoc of the Bow. He is known throughout the worldwide society for his articles on the philosophy of recreationism and practical historical recreations, especially those relating to the medieval Middle East.[9] His work is compiled in the popular Cariadoc's Miscellany.[10] He is sometimes credited with founding the largest and longest-running SCA event, the Pennsic War; as king of the Middle Kingdom he challenged the East Kingdom, and later as king of the East accepted the challenge...and lost.[11]

He is a long-time science fiction fan, and has written two fantasy novels, Harald (Baen Books, 2006) and Salamander (2011).



  • 1988. Cariadoc's Miscellany.
  • 1989 (1973). The Machinery of Freedom.
  • 1990 (1986). Price Theory: An Intermediate Text. Southwestern Publishing.
  • 1996. Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life.
  • 2000. Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters. Princeton Univ. Press.
  • 2005. "The Case for Privacy" in Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2008. Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World.



  1. ^ "The Machinery of Freedom" (PDF). p. 124. Retrieved 25 November 2012. Much is made in libertarian circles of the division between 'Austrian' and 'Chicago' schools of economic theory, largely by people who understand neither. I am classified as 'Chicago'. 
  2. ^ Free Market Mojo. "An Interview with David D. Friedman".
  3. ^ Faculty Profile: David Friedman. Santa Clara Law School
  4. ^ David Friedman C.V.
  5. ^ SCU Faculty Directory
  6. ^ Friedman, David D. "Atheism and Religion", Ideas.
  7. ^ Friedman, David D. "Revolution Is the Hell of It". The Machinery of Freedom. pp. 149–150.  
  8. ^ Morris, Christopher. 1992. An Essay on the Modern State. Cambridge University Press. p. 62.
  9. ^ Friedman, David D. "On Restructuring the SCA"
  10. ^ Cariadoc's Miscellany
  11. ^ F.L. Watkins (Fólki Þorgilsson). 2005. HERSTAĐR-SAGA: An Incomplete History of Pennsic Urbana, Illinois: Folump Enterprises

External links

  • Homepage
  • David D. Friedman speech at Authors@Google
  • David D. Friedman at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • The Marketplace of IdeasAn interview with David Friedman on
  • Free Market MojoAn Interview with David D. Friedman on
  • , October 20, 1996.Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life interview with Friedman on Booknotes