Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on November 15, 2017

in Economics

… is from page 236 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1985 paper “Political Economy and Social Philosophy,” as this paper is reprinted in Moral Science and Moral Order (2001), Vol. 17 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan:

Markets should never have been evaluated primarily and instrumentally for their ability as institutions to maximize pleasure over pain, or indeed to maximize anything else that is interpersonally comparable.

DBx: Yes.  Markets are what emerge when individuals voluntarily exchange with each other.  Markets succeed or not depending upon how well or how poorly they allow individuals to discover and to take advantage of mutually advantageous opportunities for exchange.  Markets are not about money, greed, materialism, or “maximizing social welfare” or “maximizing utility.”  Markets are about exchange, with each opportunity for exchange evaluated by each party, and with each party having the right to refuse to exchange and the right to offer alternative proposals.


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