Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 1, 2011

in Country Problems, Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, State of Macro

… is from page xiv of Geoffrey Brennan’s elegant 1998 Foreword to Vol. 2 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan – which is Jim’s 1958 classic (and truly indispensable) Public Principles of Public Debt:

To the standard new orthodox claim that we owe internal debt to ourselves, Buchanan’s response is effectively: What’s this “we” business?….

[T]here is a kind of intellectual divide between those who conceive social phenomena in a disaggregated way and those of a more holistic, organic cast of mind.  Arguably, it is this intellectual divide that most distinguishes microeconomists from macroeconomist and a fortiori as a group from sociologists and many traditional political theorists.

……

Geoff immediately adds: “Within this divide, in Public Principles of Public Debt, Buchanan establishes himself firmly as an arch exponent of the individualist method.”

Indeed Jim does so distinguish himself (as he continues to do so 53 years later) – always brilliantly and vitally and productively.

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