Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 2, 2018

in Reality Is Not Optional, Virginia Political Economy

… is from page 356-357 of Vol. 19 (Ideas, Persons, and Events [2001]) of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; specifically, it’s from Jim’s 1997 essay “Reform without Romance”:

In many countries, decades (even centuries) have passed with far too much intellectual effort exerted in elaborating idealized or stylized constructions of how a political economy might work.  Unfortunately, analysis and examination of how political and economic interaction takes place in nonromantic or realistic settings, as populated by real persons, were largely ignored.

DBx: Indeed so.  And one result of this chronic failure to treat the state as a human, rather than as a superhuman, institution is that economists have been complicit in entrusting the state with much more power than the state would be entrusted with if people better understood its actual manner and motives of operation.

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