This volume is a collection of sixteen essays on three general topics: the methodology of economics, the applicability of economic reasoning to political science and other social sciences, and the relevance of economics as moral philosophy. Several essays are published here for the first time, including "Professor Alchian on Economic Method," "Natural and Artifactual Man," and "Public Choice and Ideology."
This book provides relatively easy access to a wide range of work by a moral and legal philosopher, a welfare economist who has consistently defended the primacy of the contractarian ethic, a public finance theorist, and a founder of the burgeoning subdiscipline of public choice. Buchanan's work has spawned a methodological revolution in the way economists and other scholars think about government and government activity.
As a measure of recognition for his significant contribution, Dr. Buchanan was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics.
“I propose to examine the “travelling of the minds of men who sit in the seat of Adam Smith,” those who try to remain within the “strict domain of science”, and to ask the following question: What are economists doing? What “should” they be doing?”
James M. Buchanan
In 1986 James M. Buchanan (1919-2012) was awarded the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Universally respected as one of the founders of the “public choice” school of economics, he is the author of numerous books and hundreds of articles in the areas of public finance, public choice, constitutional economics and economic philosophy. He is best known for such works as The Calculus of Consent, The Limits of Liberty, The Power to Tax, and The Reason of Rules. Buchanan has devoted himself to the study of the contractual and constitutional basis for the theory of economic and political decision making.
See also at Econlib: the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics entry on Buchanan