James Buchanan and the Return to an Economics of Natural Equals

In Richard E. Wagner (ed.), James M. Buchanan: A Theorist of Political Economy and Social Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 693-712 (2018)
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James Buchanan often argued that fairness is an obligation toward our equals. If Adam Smith is our equal, then we are under obligation to try to understand him. We see this in Buchanan’s attempts to reformat political economy on the basis of natural equals, a world in which Smith’s street porter does indeed have the same capacity as the philosopher. This shows in Buchanan’s excitement over increasing returns models as well as John Rawls’ Theory of Justice both of which he saw a way to make this view operational.



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