James Buchanan

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One of the more insidious academic libertarians, a Nobel prize winner, and a favorite of the Koch brothers.

Links

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (book, online) (8 links)
“This sixty-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and eventually take the government itself is at the heart of Democracy in Chains. . . . If you're worried about what all this means for America's future, you should be” – NPR
Why and How the Koch Network Uses Disinformation to Thwart Democracy [More...]
The most complete (yet succinct) overview of how the Kochs made their libertarianism, a tiny fringe movement, succeed in changing our political climate and beliefs. Chapter 5 of The Disinformation Age: Politics, Technology, and Disruptive Communication in the United States.
Public Choice Theory (9 links)
A school that starts with anti-government and pro-market ideology to find that government cannot work and markets do. Surprise! Economics for the plutocracy. See also Rational Choice Theory for the usual methodology.
Buchanan clubs [More...]
Starts with a brief, easy overview of Club Goods versus Public Goods. Club goods are non-rivalrous (until congestion occurs) like public goods, but excludable. Much of government can be characterized as producing public goods and club goods.
James Buchanan Calling the Kettle Black [More...]
"Buchanan’s assertion was substantively problematic in two respects. The first, which is straightforward and well-known, and which Buchanan was obviously wrong not to acknowledge, is that there are obvious circumstances in which a minimum-wage law could simultaneously raise wages and reduce unemployment without contradicting the inverse relationship between quantity demanded and price."
Misinforming the Majority: A Deliberate Strategy of Right-Wing Libertarians [More...]
"The plan was (and is) to act on so many ostensibly separate fronts at once that those outside the cause would not realize the revolution underway until it was too late to undo it. Examples include laws to destroy unions without saying that is the true purpose, suppressing the votes of those most likely to support active government, using privatization to alter power relations — and, to lock it all in, Buchanan’s ultimate recommendation: a “constitutional revolution.”"
The Libertarians Have Been Laser Focused on Destroying Our Social Security System for Almost 40 Years
Social Security is the largest pot of money the world has ever known. Thus, the right wing has targeted it, certain that the plutocrats will scoop up the dropped money. James Buchanan was advising them since before the Reagan era.
The Master Class on the Make [More...]
"In marking Calhoun’s political philosophy as the crucial antecedent of public choice theory, Tabarrok and Cowen unwittingly confirmed what critics have long maintained: libertarianism is a political philosophy shot through with white supremacy. Public choice theory, a technical language nominally about human behavior and incentives, helps ensure that blacks remain shackled."

Quotations

[...] here in America "libertarianism" is a Frankenstein's monster that got its lightning-bolt juice from massive resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. Dismantling the New Deal and rolling back the social insurance state were not ideas that had much potential political-economy juice back in the 1950s and 1960s. But if the economic libertarian cause of dismantling the New Deal could be harnessed to the cause of white supremacy—if one of the key liberties that libertarians were fighting to defend was the liberty to discriminate against and oppress the Negroes—than all of a sudden you could have a political movement that might get somewhere. And so James Buchanan and the other libertarians to the right of Milton Friedman made the freedom to discriminate—or perhaps the power to discriminate?—a key one of the liberties that they were fighting for in their fight against BIG GOVERNMENT. And this has poisoned American libertarianism ever since.
Brad DeLong, "A Lazy New Year's Eve Morn on Twitter..."
Put another way, public choice theory turned the Marxist theory of the state on its head. As opposed to wishing to free the masses from a state controlled by the capitalist elite, Buchanan wished to free the capitalist elite from a state controlled by the unruly masses.
Andrew Hartman, "The Master Class on the Make"
Buchanan proposed that Virginia could finesse the question of full compliance with Brown and avoid leaving the impression that the state wished to revert to crude Jim Crow standards of race privilege. Buchanan’s innovative solution was the introduction of school vouchers... On paper, at least, Buchanan was advocating a market-based, seemingly race-neutral policy solution. In effect, however, it allowed for the continued perpetuation of segregation. For example, Virginia’s Prince Edwards County shuttered its public schools in 1959 while doling out vouchers to students who attended private schools that only accepted white children. As a result, black children in Prince Edwards County went without formal education for more than five years.
Andrew Hartman, "The Master Class on the Make"
Interestingly, there has been an almost complete silence among MacLean’s critics about her chapter on Buchanan’s role as a critical constitutional and economic consultant for the US-backed Chilean junta in 1980. By helping the new government legally eliminate its political competitors, the economist also helped set the stage for decades of dictatorship, oligarchy, exploitation and the collapse of Chile’s economy .
Claire Potter, "What Are the Costs of Libertarianism? Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains, Revisited"