… is from page 297 of my late Nobel-Laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1976 paper “Public Goods and Natural Liberty,” as this paper is reprinted in James M. Buchanan, Externalities and Public Expenditure Theory (2001), which is volume 15 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan:
The modern economist may reject [Adam] Smith’s central notion that capital accumulation in a setting of natural liberty protected by law provides the key to economic development, or even that such development is, in itself, a desirable objective. What the modern economist cannot do, at least consistently, is to propose further interference with natural liberty for the avowed purpose of stimulating capital investment while at the same time continuing to ignore the stifling effects of public sector expansion. As Gordon Tullock has remarked, government should take its foot off the brake before it hits the accelerator. Adam Smith would surely have agreed.