Friday, July 22, 2005

Royalty and Rent-Seeking

It used to be that dynasties, and royal families, had the possibility of declining and being brutally overthrown and slaughtered. But once the royal family is institutionalized and endorsed by the state, as in England, as opposed to actually ruling, then any decline over time won't lead to their overthrow so long as the state continues to exist. Then the royal family is the ultimate success in rent-seeking: they are who they are (rich and famous) solely because the state grants them a monopoly (royal titles) and all the property and prestige that goes along with it.

For some reason this reminds of the The Queen and I about the royal family being removed from office, and going to live in council housing (public housing). A wonderful book, I recall.

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