Starting from Where We Are: The Importance of the Status Quo in James Buchanan

In Richard E. Wagner (ed.), James M. Buchanan: A Theorist of Political Economy and Social Philosophy. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 39-64 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


One of the key tenets of James Buchanan’s political thought was the centrality of the status quo, embodied in Buchanan’s frequently heard axiom that “we start from where we are.” There is practical political value in “starting from where we are,” because we are in fact there, and not someplace else. Buchanan’s normative concern is that starting from where “we are” means that changes are more likely to be voluntary, and therefore Pareto-improving. The history of this notion of the status quo in contractarian thought is developed briefly, and then a particular example, the Chilean Constitution and its problematic implementation, is discussed.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,517

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

5 (#1,581,494)

6 months
2 (#1,486,244)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Munger
Duke University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references