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Tag Archives: Virginia Political Economy

Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages xv-xvi of Geoffrey Brennan’s, Hartmut Kliemt’s, and Robert Tollison’s “Foreword” to The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty (1999), which is volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (original emphasis): More specifically, public choice stands in vivid contrast both to the naively optimistic “benevolent despot” model of politics that implicitly inhabits most conventional economic analysis of public policy and to the tradition in political theory that...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 109 of my late Nobel laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1980 paper “Rent Seeking and Profit Seeking” as this paper is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty: Rent-seeking activity is directly related to the scope and range of governmental activity in the economy, to the relative size of the public sector. DBx: And, therefore, the larger the government, the larger are rent-seeking’s distortions and...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 51 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1978 paper “From Private Preferences to Public Philosophy,” as this paper is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Politics as Public Choice (2000), which is volume 13 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; the original published version of this paper is available here): Little or none of the empirical work on regulation suggests that the pre-public choice hypotheses of regulation in the “public interest” is...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 74 of my late Nobel laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s pioneering February 1962 article in Economica “Politics, Policy, and the Pigovian Margins,” as this article is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty: The almost universal neglect of the imperfections that might arise from the political attempts at applying the economists’ efficiency criteria represents a serious deficiency in the work of...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 113 of my late Nobel laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s 1983 article “The Achievement and the Limits of Public Choice in Diagnosing Government Failure and in Offering Bases for Constructive Reform,” as this article is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Politics as Public Choice (2000), which is volume 13 of the Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; those who are unfamiliar with, or who reject, the public-choice perspective invariably compare real-world – and, hence, imperfect...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “The myth of the rational voter”

In my Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column for May 7th, 2008, I discussed my colleague Bryan Caplan’s great 2007 book, The Myth of the Rational Voter. You can read my discussion beneath the fold (link added). The myth of the rational voter Are ordinary people rational enough to govern themselves? Your temptation, depending upon your political outlook, is to respond by answering this question with a “yes” or a “no” or a “maybe” or a “some people are and some people aren’t.” (Of course, most...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 70-71 of James M. Buchanan’s and Richard E. Wagner’s insightful 1977 book, Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes (original emphasis): An increasingly disproportionate public sector, quite apart from its inflationary consequences, carries with it the familiar, but always important, implications for individual liberty. The governmental bureaucracy, at least indirectly supported by the biased, if well-intentioned, notions Keynesian origin, comes to have a...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 526 of George Will’s superb 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility (footnote deleted): The point of elections is to ensure that government has what Madison in Federalist 51 called a “dependence on the people.” The preoccupation of modern government, however, is to make more and more people, in more and more ways, dependent on the government. DBx: Who can deny the validity of this conclusion? The naive notion of democracy is that “the people” of a political jurisdiction is...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 210-212 of my colleague Richard Wagner’s insightful paper “Liability Rules, Fiscal Institutions and the Debt,” which is chapter 11 in the 1987 collection Deficits (James M. Buchanan, Charles K. Rowley, & Robert D. Tollison, eds.): The ability of government to borrow at a lower rate of interest than other borrowers is not at all a sign that it is a less risky enterprise than other enterprises. Rather it is a sign of government’s ability to cover up through taxation...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 81 of Vincent Ostrom’s and the late economics Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom’s 1977 paper “Public Goods and Public Choices,” as this paper is reprinted in Polycentricity and Local Public Economies (M.D. McGinnis, ed., 1999): But recourse to coercive sanctions and governmental organization does not provide both the necessary and sufficient conditions for the delivery of public goods and services under relatively optimal conditions. Instruments of coercion can be used to...

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