Anthony de Jasay – The State
This book consists of five chapters. The first imagines what society would look like without any state at all; the last imagines a total state. The chapters in between look at in-between states. De Jasay shares deep insights in social contract theory. For example, states compete with each other in a Hobbesian state of nature, even if individuals no longer do.
Jasay is also skeptical of utilitarianism as a guide to public policy. Because interpersonal utility comparisons are impossible, it is impossible to honestly tell other people what is best for them. This is a major impediment to well-intentioned arguments for state intervention.