Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nobel Prize Winning Economist James Buchanan Passes Away – And Here’s His Great Insight

Not Only An Obvious Point But a Very Important One As Well

Conservative economists tend to be market oriented, tend to believe that the private market system will solve everyone’s problems, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (see monopolies; great depressions, consumer fraud, bank failures etc.).  But James Buchanan, who just died was one of the better ones. 

He did a lot of very good work, but also came to conclusions that, really, non-economists could also come to.  Here is one that that is about as relevant today as any commentary on current affairs.

Dr. Buchanan, a professor emeritus at George Mason, in Fairfax, Va., was a leading proponent of public choice theory, which assumes that politicians and government officials, like everyone else, are motivated by self-interest — getting re-elected or gaining more power — and do not necessarily act in the public interest.

Gee, can anybody think of any government official this description does not cover?

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