May, 2017

James M. Buchanan and Liberal Political Economy

A Rational Reconstruction
  • Richard Wagner

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
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James M. Buchanan and Liberal Political Economy: A Rational Reconstruction examines the contemporary meaning and significance of James M. Buchanan’s body of work. The book uses Buchanan’s past contributions to explore the present and future relevance of his scholarly contributions and insights. It seeks mainly to explain what insight for their work contemporary scholars might acquire by becoming familiar with some of Buchanan’s formulations. Buchanan was one of the most creative and prolific scholars of political economy during the post-war period. Not only was his body of work so immense that it could not be contained within 20 volumes of Collected Works, but also Buchanan’s scholarship made such strong contact with law, ethics, and political science that he could easily have served as a poster-child for the programs in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics which have been gaining momentum in recent years. Buchanan spoke for a style of economics that made wide and firm contact with the full range of the humane studies. This book emphasizes those features of Buchanan’s thought that seem relevant for contemporary scholarship within the broadly liberal tradition of political economy.