Rediscovering Buchanan’s Rediscovery: Non-Market Exchange Versus Antiseptic Allocation

Forthcoming, Public Choice, 2020.

32 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Nicolas Cachanosky

Nicolas Cachanosky

The University of Texas at El Paso; American Institute for Economic Research; UCEMA Friedman-Hayek Center for the Study of a Free Society

Edward J. Lopez

Western Carolina University - College of Business; Liberty Fund, Inc.

Date Written: March 31, 2020

Abstract

While Buchanan is best known for the economics of politics and constitutions, his seminal contributions to this field are but one branch of his more underlying methodology and approach to doing social science. Buchanan’s fundamental project was to re-orient economics and social science toward an analysis of symbiotic exchange (catallactics) rather than of antiseptic allocation (optimization). The most definite statement of this contribution lies in Buchanan’s 1963 presidential address to the Southern Economic Association, “What Should Economists Do?” which was later expanded into a book of the same title. This paper seeks to draw attention to several of Buchanan’s more recent but lesser known articles where he fully develops this theme. He calls on economists to rediscover Adam Smith’s “elementary notion” about the division of labor and the extent of the market, and he professes the notion of “generalized increasing returns” as a mechanism for economists to rediscover their Scottish Enlightenment roots within the neoclassical framework. In this same vein, we also discuss how Buchanan’s rediscovery might apply to two prominent and ongoing twenty-first century issues, trade restrictions and populism.

Keywords: Buchanan, catallactics, collective action, public choice

JEL Classification: B31, B40

Suggested Citation

Cachanosky, Nicolas and Lopez, Edward J., Rediscovering Buchanan’s Rediscovery: Non-Market Exchange Versus Antiseptic Allocation (March 31, 2020). Forthcoming, Public Choice, 2020., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3565167

Nicolas Cachanosky

The University of Texas at El Paso

500 West University Avenue
El Paso, TX 79968
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.utep.edu/

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

UCEMA Friedman-Hayek Center for the Study of a Free Society ( email )

Buenos Aires
Argentina

Edward J. Lopez (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University - College of Business ( email )

College of Business
Forsyth 315E
Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.edwardjlopez.com

Liberty Fund, Inc. ( email )

11301 N. Meridian Street
Carmel, IN 46032
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econlib.org

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