Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 21, 2019

in Economics, Virginia Political Economy

… is from page viii of the 1978 reprint of James Buchanan’s brilliant little 1969 book, Cost and Choice:

My working hypothesis is that many economists rush headlong into the intricacies of analysis while overlooking certain points of elementary economic logic. Clarification at the conceptual level may be irrelevant for particular applications, and those who are anxious to get on with solving the world’s ills may scoff at my insistence on methodological purification.

DBx: Buchanan’s Acknowledgements section for this volume is dated March 1969 – 50 years ago this month. Cost and Choice, barely longer than 100 pages, is amongst the most theoretically profound and important books that has ever been written in economics. Its important lesson – including Buchanan’s insistence on thinking clearly, deeply, and straight about theoretical concepts, and about how these map onto real-world phenomena – remains lost on most economists.


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