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The debts to be acknowledged in the writing of this book are so numerous and varied that any listing must be partial, and accompanied by apologies to those not mentioned.
Intellectually, this book is a product of an odyssey of the mind that goes back more than three decades. Those from whom I gleaned particular insights have ranged across the philosophic spectrum, from Karl Marx to Milton Friedman, and the fields have ranged from biology to law. If one writing contributed more than any other to the framework within which this work developed, it would be an essay entitled "The Use of Knowledge in Society," published in the American Economic Review of September 1945, and written by F. A. Hayek, later to become a Nobel Laureate in economics. In this plain and apparently simple essay was a deeply penetrating insight into the way societies function and malfunction, and clues as to why they are so often and so profoundly misunderstood.
The immediate environment within which the research for this book began was the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, in Stanford, California, where I was a fellow in 1976-77. Preparatory planning for this work was begun during 1974-76, when generous grants from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D. C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University permitted me the time needed for reflections and reconsiderations. Several months in residence as a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1977 enabled me to complete the research begun at the Center for Advanced Study and to proceed with the writing.
The person with whom I discussed this book most during its writing was Mary M. Ash, an attorney in Palo Alto, California. Her legal mind was helpful in her critiques not only of the discussions of law but also of material throughout the book. Her friendship and encouragement sustained my efforts and my spirits.
A two-day conference in 1978 at the Center for Law and Economics at the University of Miami was organized around a paper of mine on legal issues, and provided an invaluable experience in confronting leading scholars in law, economics, and political science with the ideas that form the foundation of this book. The generous support of the Liberty Fund in Indianapolis, Indiana, made possible this gathering of distinguished scholars from all parts of the country, and the generous permission of Professor Henry G. Manne, Director of the Center for Law and Economics, has made possible the incorporation of that paper into this book. Other discussions of the book's evolving themes were held at the University of California at Berkeley, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, the University of Maryland, and San Jose State University in California. I learned something from all of them.
The support, enthusiasm, tact, helpfulness, and wisdom of my editor, Midge Decter, have been of inestimable value during what seemed like interminable years of writing, and in smoothing what can be a rocky road between the manuscript and the finished book. All the good things I had heard about her proved to be true, and I am pleased to hereby amend my longstanding belief that the only good editor is a dead editor. (A couple of other possible exceptions also come to mind.)
These contributors are only the tip of the iceberg. Many librarians, colleagues, secretaries-and especially the marvelous staff at the Center for Advanced Study-have helped me along the way.
In the end, however, after all the influences, aiders and abettors, responsibility for all conclusions and errors is mine.
University of California, Los Angeles
May 9, 1979