A Presidential Tribute to James M. Buchanan: In Appreciation of the Man, His Work, and His Example
Posted: 10 Apr 2015
Date Written: 2014
Nobel laureate James McGill Buchanan proudly served as president of the Southern Economic Association from 1962-1963. In his presidential address “What Should Economists Do?,” he suggested that the study of economics is best approached by concentrating on exchange and the coordination that arises spontaneously when people pursue their own interests subject to market constraints. Buchanan’s address stood in stark contrast, at the time, to Lionel Robbins, who saw economics as the science of choices necessitated by scarcity and it fomented the rise of the two major economic methodologies widely discussed in the economics literature today as the “value paradigm” and the “exchange paradigm.” In this article, we utilize Buchanan’s 1963 presidential address as a starting point to discuss his effect on the cooperative and informational functions of markets as well as expressive voting.
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