Published originally in 1975, The Limits of Liberty made James Buchanan’s name more widely known than ever before among political philosophers and theorists and established Buchanan, along with John Rawls and Robert Nozick, as one of the three new contractarians, standing on the shoulders of Hobbes, Locke, and Kant.
The thirty-one papers presented in this volume offer scholars and general readers alike a comprehensive introduction to the work of one of the greatest economists of the modern era. Many of Buchanan’s most important essays are gathered in this inaugural volume of the twenty-volume series from Liberty Fund of his Collected Works.
This volume presents a representative sampling of James M. Buchanan’s philosophical views as he deals with fundamental problems of moral science and moral order. As one might expect, Buchanan always goes back to fundamental principles first. From there, his observations and conclusions range far and wide from his own discipline.
“Politics by principle is that which modern politics is not. What we observe is ‘politics by interest,’ whether in the form of explicitly discriminatory treatment (rewarding or punishing) of particular groupings of citizens or of some elitist-dirigiste classification of citizens into the deserving or non-deserving on the basis of a presumed superior wisdom about what is really ‘good’ for us all. The proper principle for politics is that of generalization of generality.”
Commenting on his collaboration with Geoffrey Brennan on The Power to Tax, James M. Buchanan says that the book is “demonstrable proof of the value of genuine research collaboration across national-cultural boundaries.” Buchanan goes on to say that “The Power to Tax is informed by a single idea—the implications of a revenue-maximizing government.”
Public Finance in Democratic Process is James M. Buchanan’s monumental work that outlines the dynamics of individual choice as it is displayed in the process of public finance.
Public Principles of Public Debt is one of James M. Buchanan’s most important and influential books. The radical idea he conceived was that our reliance on public debt has amassed a sort of orthodoxy that is commonly—and needlessly—assumed by taxpayers, by politicians, and by economists themselves.
In his foreword, Robert D. Tollison identifies the main objective of Geoffrey Brennan and James M. Buchanan’s The Reason of Rules: “. . . a book-length attempt to focus the energies of economists and other social analysts on the nature and function of the rules under which ordinary political life and market life function.”