The Reality of the Influence of 'The Myth'

by Don Boudreaux on May 27, 2007

in Books, Myths and Fallacies, Politics

My brilliant younger
colleague Bryan Caplan is making quite a splash with his new book, The
Myth of the Rational Voter
.  It is, in my opinion, the most important
book on the economics of politics to appear in the past decade.

Today’s New York Times Magazine (p. 18) features a favorable discussion, written by Gary Bass, of its theme.  Here’s a whiff:

Bryan Caplan, an economist at George Mason University, has attracted
notice for raising a pointed question: Do voters have any idea what
they are doing? In his provocative new book, “The Myth of the Rational
Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies,” Caplan argues that “voters
are worse than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational — and vote
accordingly.” Caplan’s complaint is not that special-interest groups
might subvert the will of the people, or that government might ignore
the will of the people. He objects to the will of the people itself.


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