Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 3, 2019

in Economics, Virginia Political Economy

… is from page 51 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s important 1982 article “The Related but Distinct ‘Sciences’ of Economics and of Political Economy,” as this article is reprinted in Moral Science and Moral Order (2001), Vol. 17 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan:

A major deficiency in the political-legal-social philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries has been the failure to model the behaviour of the sovereign, or, more precisely, to model the behaviour of those persons who are empowered or authorized to act on behalf of the state or government. This failure has been far more pervasive than any like failure to model what we may call “private man.” The latter has often been modelled as Homo economicus for the legitimate purpose of assisting in the dialogues on law reform. By contrast, “public man” has rarely been modelled at all, save implicitly as “saint.”

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