James Buchanan RIP

He was a pioneering figure who left an indelible mark on the economics profession. He was a close friend of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and he participated in a number of NCPA events. He and his colleague Gordon Tullock were a huge influence on my PhD dissertation at Columbia and then on my subsequent work on public choice economics with Phil Porter.

Comments (6)

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  1. Gabriel Odom says:

    The Austrian School has lost another great mind.

  2. Ken says:

    A gentleman and a scholar.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    When I was a young PhD student in Political Economy at the University of Texas-Dallas, James Buchanan spoke at our university. He told us that virtually all of his colleagues at the University of Chicago were socialists when he began his doctoral studies there.

    According to Buchanan, only a short while into the program — just a few weeks — about two-thirds of his fellow students began to understand how markets worked and were no longer so enamored with central planning.

    A student in the audience Buchanan was relaying this story to raised his hand and asked Buchanan why the remaining third of his fellow students didn’t seem to “get it?” What prompted the remaining third of Buchanan’s colleagues at the University of Chicago to be so supportive of central planning? Why did they not understood how inferior socialism was at allocating goods and services compared to a market economy?

    Buchanan replied the remaining third of his fellow students did understand how markets work and knew markets were more efficient at allocating resources than central planning. However, many of his colleagues were elitists who just wanted to be employed in the upper echelons of the bureaucracy that controlled the production of goods and services.