This ultimately voluntary basis for political agreement also counters the emphasis on politics as power that characterizes much modern analysis. The observed presence of coercive elements in the activity of the state seems difficult to reconcile with the model of voluntary exchange among individuals. We may, however, ask: Coercion to what purpose? Why must individuals subject themselves to the coercion inherent in collective action? The answer is evident. Individuals acquiesce in the coercion of the state, of politics, only if the ultimate constitutional "exchange" furthers their interests. Without some model of exchange, no coercion of the individual by the state is consistent with the individualistic value norm upon which a liberal social order is grounded.
He was born in Billingham, County Durham, to Bertha (nee Wilson) and William, a labourer, and on leaving Stockton grammar school studied theology at King’s College London. After listening to those living with the strain of unemployment, in 1976 he initiated a collaborative venture called Impasse, with facilities for many trades and art forms, and an advice centre. Typical of the people to whom it gave a new start was a woodworker who, with the help of tools and friendship, set up as a furniture-maker. Impasse also went on the road, lending tools for small jobs through its library, and manned a volunteer helpline.