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Ideas, Persons & Events (Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, The)
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There are a total of 33 essays in this volume. Their contents range from autobiographical reflections to personal reminiscences of fellow economists (Frank Knight, Gordon Tullock, Winston Bush, Jack Wiseman, Friedrich von Hayek) to book reviews to thoughts on the collapse of socialism. Professor Buchanan's writings have been noted for their accessibility to "non-experts", and the essays in this volume are no exception. For the most part they are even less abstract, lighter, at times even fun (although by no means fluffy), than most of Buchanan's other academic publications.
With such a variety of papers, not all of them will be equally interesting to all readers, but there are some true gems here, such as "The Epistemological Feasibility of Free Markets" (don't be put off by that title) and "Consumption without Production: The Impossible Idyll of Socialism".
In addition, the papers on the collapse of socialism are still surprisingly fresh and relevant, even though it has been more than 15 years since the Iron Curtain started coming down in 1989. Why is it that many people are reluctant to embrace free market systems, even though both historical experience and intellectual analysis overwhelmingly demonstrate that collective control, whether of the means of production or of the distribution of product, simply does not work? Buchanan's papers highlight three themes:
* Lack of economic education.Read more ›