After the spectacular success of my project to use this blog to get a cover for the new edition of The Machinery of Freedom, I thought I might see if I could use it for a second project. My book Law's Order has been translated into Spanish and the people responsible asked me for ideas for a cover. My guess is that considerably fewer of the readers of the blog have read the latter book, so I may not be able to get an actual cover, although I would be happy to look at any if people want to submit them. But perhaps I can at least get ideas for a cover to send them.
For those not familiar with the book, it's on the economic analysis of law, not on libertarianism. The central idea is making sense of legal rules considered as a system of incentives, asking what their consequences will be on how rational individuals act. For a simple example, from the first chapter:
You live in a state where the most severe criminal punishment is life imprisonment. Someone proposes that since armed robbery is a very serious crime, armed robbers should get a life sentence. A constitutional lawyer asks whether that is consistent with the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. A legal philosopher asks whether it is just.
An economist points out that if the punishments for armed robbery and for armed robbery plus murder are the same, the additional punishment for the murder is zero—and asks whether you really want to make it in the interest of robbers to murder their victims.
That is what economics has to do with law. Economics, whose subject, at the most fundamental level, is not money or the economy but the implications of rational choice, is an essential tool for figuring out the effects of legal rules. Knowing what effects rules will have is central both to understanding the rules we have and to deciding what rules we should have.