- Series: Iea Hobart Paperback
- Paperback: 1 pages
- Publisher: Institute Of Economic Affairs; 2 edition (December 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0255365772
- ISBN-13: 978-0255365772
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
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#2,116,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #857 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Public Affairs
- #1908 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Public Affairs & Administration
- #2802 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Elections
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The Vote Motive (Iea Hobart Paperback) 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Gordon Tullock is University Professor of Law and Economics and distinguished research fellow at the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy at George Mason University. He is the author of 23 books, including Autocracy; On Voting: A Public Choice Approach; and The Politics of Bureaucracy Private Wants, Public Means. He is the founding editor of Papers in Non-Market Decision-Making, which was later renamed Public Choice and has served as president of the Public Choice Society, the Southern Economic Association, and the Western Economic Association. In 1996 he was elected to the American Political Science Review Hall of Fame, and in 1998 he was recognized as a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard is professor of political theory and comparative politics in the department of political science at the University of Copenhagen. He is the European editor of the journal Public Choice. Charles K. Rowley is the Duncan Black Professor of Economics in the cepartment of economics at George Mason University, and general director of the Locke Institute. He is the editor of The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock, editor of Public Choice, and former president of the European Public Choice Society. Stefan Voigt is professor of economic policy in the department of economic policy at the University of Kassel, and in the International Centre for Economic Research (ICER) in Turin. He is a member of the editorial board of Public Choice and associate editor of the Review of Austrian Economics. Michael C. Munger is a professor in the department of political science and the department of economics at Duke University. He is the North American editor of Public Choice and former president of the Public Choice Society.
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The prevailing view of politicians after world War II was that these were people who wanted to "do good" or to "help people" and so they entered public service. Similarly, in Britain at least, civil servants were supposed to be somewhat selfless in that they forego quite lucrative careers in the private sector in order to serve the public.
Of course, Keynes looked forward to the day when economists would be mere technicians, professionals, like dentists, providing services dispassionately. It just goes to show that we can all make mistakes.
Oddly enough, the politicians have always been caught out in various ways throughout history which really undermines the mythology surrounding them. And, politicians have to have a calculating side and a drive and determination to achieve power so that they can climb the greasy pole and become the top dog but in a democracy such as Britain's they still do not have untrammeled power even with huge majorities such as Margaret Thatcher.
Gordon Tullock's little book, updated slightly to reflect some of the political changes in Britain which took place after the first edition was published, is like the Sirocco. it starts as a gentle breeze and ends as a mighty wind. Certainly clears the cobwebs from the mind and sets you thinking. One early thought which comes to mind is about why politicians do what they do aside from voting. But the book is easy to read and the ideas are couched in such understandable terms that their meaning as concepts soon become apparent. Tullock's glowing testament to the fabled editorial skills of Arthur Seldon, to whom he attributes the role of co-author, is high praise for such a feature of the book. The concepts of log rolling and pork barrel politics through into sharp relief the nature of political manifestos (platforms in American parlance) akin to the bundling carried out by cable television companies in order to sell their less than popular channels.
The commentaries range from Charles Rowley's historical account of the life and times of Gordon Tullock makes him seem as the secretary of his fan club, but it certainly makes clear why other academics seem to be in awe of him. On the other hand, Stephan Voight seems to take great delight in pointing out some of the minor points of dispute within the work but does not have much to take issue with. Michael Munger finds much of the concepts relevant even in antiquity although I do not share his enthusiasm for lengthy quotations.
This is a particular gem of a book compact yet extremely powerful and very useful in placing a new perspective on the role of those involved in the political process, all with the minimum of mathematics and written in plain English. One thing it does not do is explain why anyone would want to vote in any case.