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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 147 of my colleague Richard E. Wagner’s superb 2017 intellectual biography of Jim Buchanan, James M. Buchanan and Liberal Political Economy:

The relative volume of market and politics nodes in the transactional nexus within a society may have significant implications for moral belief within a society. An expansion in politically generated nodes and connections might promote drift in the character of a regime, due to systematic differences in the types of moral instruction that are embedded in the institutions and practices of different regimes. Rectitude would seem to be a casualty of an expansion in the relative significance of political enterprises within a society. To the extent property shifts from the private to the communal domain, the injunction to avoid taking what is not yours becomes vacuous…. There is no right and wrong, as demarcated by the distinction between mine and thine. There are simply contending desires over how to use communal property.

DBx: Yes.

All proponents, conservative and “Progressive,” of industrial policy – a policy that necessarily transforms some private property rights into communal property rights – should reflect more seriously than I suspect they currently do on the important point here mentioned by Wagner.


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