Friday, January 02, 2009

Public service

I've been thinking about public choice theory - something I studied well over a decade ago. I've forgotten most of it now apart from the most significant contours. Max Weber is always the starting point on this, so I've been idly trawling my bookshelves and the web looking at Weber and bureaucracy as a useful starting point (broadly, Weber thought bureaucracies were a fairly rational way of organising things, and public choice theorists were often a good deal more sceptical).

Anyway, apropos of not much, I found a good refresher essay here. And this factoid leaped out:
...in modern armies the soldier does not own his weapons, whereas in ancient armies he did . For example, in ancient Rome when the army was called together the 'classes' were expected to come equipped to a certain standard at their own expense - 'classification' was a form of taxation. Soldiers were expected to bring money to buy food from the locals (when they did not take what they wanted by force); they got no pay or provisions.

4 comments:

Tim Worstall said...

James Buchanan for public choice theory. It's what he got his Nobel for after all.

Paulie said...

He wouldn't have got it if I was giving them out Tim ;-)

Chris said...

Regarding the factoid, 'modern' armies includes the Roman army after the Marian reforms of 107 BC.

Phil said...

Is the Roman army description not the context of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution?