Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 9, 2023

in Virginia Political Economy

… is from page 323 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague James Buchanan’s 1962 essay “Marginal Notes on Reading Political Philosophy,” which is an appendix to Buchanan’s and Gordon Tullock’s seminal 1962 book, The Calculus of Consent; the page number here is from Liberty Fund’s 1999 edition of Calculus: (original emphasis; footnote deleted; link added):

It is in his careful discussion of the logic of State action in those cases of demonstrable externality, however, that [Wilhelm von] Humboldt reveals clearly what was, at base, an economic approach. He recognized that the mere existence of spillover or external effects resulting from private action did not justify State action: the decision must rest on a comparison of the costs, in terms of the greater limitation on individual freedom, and the benefits, in terms of the greater security provided by some collective limitations placed on private behavior.

DBx: Jim Buchanan died on this date ten years ago.

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