George Orwell as a Public Choice Economist

The American Economist 60(2): 183-208, Fall 2015

26 Pages Posted: 14 May 2015 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

Makovi, Michael, George Orwell as a Public Choice Economist (May 5, 2015). The American Economist 60(2): 183-208, Fall 2015, Available at SSRN:

Michael Makovi (Contact Author)

Northwood University ( email )

4000 Whiting Dr
Midland, MI MI 48640
United States
48611 (Fax)

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