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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 9 of David Levy’s and Sandra Peart’s excellent 2020 volume from Cambridge University Press, Towards an Economics of Natural Equals: A Documentary History of the Early Virginia School:

By removing the supposition of fixed goals, the Virginia School fundamentally altered the role of the economist. No longer was the economist to offer policy advice to attain the known goals of society. Instead, the role of the economist was a more modest one of offering suggestions for public consideration.

DBx: The “supposition of fixed goals” that Jim Buchanan and other members of the Virginia School of political economy removed is the supposition, used by mainstream economists, that individuals in society have goals that are largely exogenous to the economic and political processes of which they are a part.

Pictured here is the front page of a 1956 monograph written by Rutledge Vining, a colleague of Buchanan at the University of Virginia who helped to form Buchanan’s view of the proper role of economics and of the economist.