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Tag Archives: Virginia Political Economy

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 237-238 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s July 1967 Ethics article, “Politics and Science,” as this article is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty (1999) (original emphasis): Politics can be considered as the choice of rules by which men live together.  We are deep in the cardinal sin of using the same word “politics” to mean two quite different things, and, indeed, this has...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 212 of my late colleague Gordon Tullock’s pioneering article in the Autumn 1975 Bell Journal of Economics, “The Transitional Gains Trap,” as this article is reprinted in Virginia Political Economy, which is Vol. 1 of The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock (Charles K. Rowley, ed., 2004): One of the major activities of modern governments is the granting of special privileges to various groups of politically influential people. DBx: This truth is seldom denied when it is, as...

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Horwitz on MacLean

Here’s the Cato Journal version of Steve Horwitz’s devastating review of Nancy MacLean’s fabulist tale, Democracy in Chains.  Some slices: But the argument for school choice has a long history outside the context of race. For example, it appears in nearly identical form in John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (1859) exactly 100 years earlier. Like Mill, Nutter and Buchanan genuinely believed that their proposed system would provide a better education for all students. Given the way integration...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 43 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1982 article “The Related but Distinct ‘Sciences’ of Economics and of Political Economy,” as this article is reprinted in Moral Science and Moral Order, Vol. 17 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (original emphasis): The problem that Crusoe and Friday confront in living together is not scientific in the standard sense, and no matter how rapid the advances in scientific knowledge by one or both persons, the...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 93 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s April 1954 Journal of Political Economy article, “Social Choice, Democracy, and Free Markets,” as this article is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty (1999): Voting and the market, as decision-making mechanisms, have evolved from, and are based upon an acceptance of, the philosophy of individualism which presumes no social utility. DBx: The...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 239 of my late George Mason University colleague James Buchanan’s contribution to the 1989 volume, edited by Werner Sichel, The State of Economic Sciences: Views of Six Nobel Laureates, as this contribution is reprinted in Choice, Contract, and Constitutions (2001), which is volume 16 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (link added; footnote deleted): And, at least in the 1940s, everyone knew that “the economic problem” was defined by Lionel Robbins as the...

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James Devereaux Reviews Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains

Over at Medium, James Devereaux reviews the fabulist tale told by Nancy MacLean in Democracy in Chains.  Some slices: Unfortunately for MacLean, and those heaping praise, it is clear this tale rests on ransom-note-style citations, cutting and pasting together portions of phrases to change the meaning and support her narrative. In certain places it appears she has woefully misunderstood the source material or did not care- the notes do not match the claims. By cobbling together this...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 291 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1991 profound essay “The Foundations of Normative Individualism,” as this essay is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty (1999); in this essay, Buchanan challenges the justification for free markets that rests upon the claim that each individual has a “utility function” that he or she knows better than any third-party or third-parties,...

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Some Links

Matt Ridley points to evidence that free markets make us nicer. Mark Perry wonders if restaurants that charge during dinner hours higher prices than they charge during lunchtime are price gougers. Pierre Lemieux tackles the objection to free trade that runs as follows: ‘You can’t benefit from free trade if you don’t have a job.’ Here’s my Mercatus Center colleague Dan Griswold on the recent shrinkage of the U.S. trade and the recent disappointing job numbers. Dan Ikenson laments the...

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Early Buchanan contra MacLean

Earlier today I re-read – and for the first time since I read Nancy MacLean’s fabulist tale, Democracy in Chains – the first published article by my late Nobel-laureate colleague, Jim Buchanan.  That article is titled “The Pure Theory of Government Finance: A Suggested Approach“; it appeared in the December 1949 issue of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy.  In this article, Buchanan proposes a new approach to the study of public finance.  Here’s a passage from page 502 of the...

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