David R. Henderson  

James Buchanan's Work

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There's a lot of buzz on the Internet lately (see here for my recent commentary on Sam Tanenhaus's review) about the recent book by Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America. MacLean sees economist James M. Buchanan as the key figure in the rise of the "radical right." One of the things that those of us who know Buchanan's work well have been saying, on Facebook and elsewhere, is that Ms. MacLean doesn't seem to know his work well. Which is a pity because she presumably spent at least months and probably years researching his work.

If only there were a way for people to read some of Jim's many books without having to spend a small fortune.

Fortunately, there is. Liberty Fund has made many of his books available electronically for free. See here, browse through, and enjoy reading the works of this remarkable man.

HT2 Art Carden.

P.S. For a quick look at who James Buchanan was, see my brief bio of him in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
MikeP writes:

...Ms. MacLean doesn't seem to know his work well. Which is a pity because she presumably spent at least months and probably years researching his work.

I think you are being far too charitable here. The much more likely explanation is that she had zero interest in knowing his work.

There is a waiting population of pseudo-intellectual liberals who believe in a vast right-wing conspiracy and credulously accept any pseudo-intellectual writing that supports that notion. It is most likely that this author is simply hitching a ride on the same gravy train as Jane Mayer and her hatchet jobs on the Koch brothers.

Jon Murphy writes:

I just worked my way through Calculus of Consent for the first time. That is a great work. His and Tullock's reasoning is just so clear and the book is very easy to follow. What I like about Buchanan is how he cautions people against making common mistakes when interpreting his work and he explains why those misconceptions, while perhaps makes sense on their face, are incorrect.

It's a great service to humanity that these works are available free.

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