I am well aware of the difficulties of introducing the notion of equity into the literature on property rights. How do individuals arrive at the notion of a just exchange ratio and at what point does a just ratio become unjust? If the concept is not crucial to the way in which choices are made, then we are left with the puzzle of accounting for the immense amount of resources invested throughout history in attempting to convince individuals about the justice or injustice of their position. Competing rationalizations of the world around us have been the basic ingredient of history since long before Pericles’ rhetoric was decisive in his struggle with Cimon for the support of Athenian citizens. This ingredient has dominated historical conflict ever since. Becker and Stigler, however, would ignore Christ, Mohammed, Marx, and – in 1980 – Khomeini, not to mention the thousands of other sources of ideology in history.
Douglass North, Structure and Change in Economic History, p. 51.
Eric had grudgingly admitted North into the order of Elder Gods of Economics. I worship North as the One True God. He even has the beard.