George Orwell as a Public Choice Economist
The American Economist 60(2): 183-208, Fall 2015
26 Pages Posted: Last revised: 9 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 5, 2015
George Orwell is famous for his two final fictions, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. These two works are sometimes understood to defend capitalism against socialism. But as Orwell was a committed socialist, this could not have been his intention. Orwell's criticisms were directed not against socialism per se but against the Soviet Union and similarly totalitarian regimes. Instead, these fictions were intended as Public Choice-style investigations into which political systems furnished suitable incentive structures to prevent the abuse of power. This is demonstrated through a study of Orwell's non-fiction works, where his opinions and intentions are more explicit.
Keywords: Orwell, Public Choice, socialism, totalitarianism, Neoconservatism
JEL Classification: B24, B31, D72, P20, P30, Z11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation