In Democracy in Chains, Nancy MacLean draws attention to the influence that James M. Buchanan’s work has had on the political economic discourse of the past half century. Buchanan and his collaborators in the Virginia Political Economy tradition have provided intellectual firepower for efforts to delegitimize democratically sanctioned policies aimed at alleviating the dysfunctional consequences of market activity. While MacLean’s account contains some well-documented inaccuracies, her characterization of Buchanan’s agenda is broadly accurate. This chapter assesses Buchanan’s economics in light of the themes raised by MacLean. His work, we shall argue, is a modern manifestation of what Marx termed “vulgar economy,” that is, ruling-class ideology posing as science.
Mongiovi, G. (2019), "Poking a Hornets’ Nest: The Debate on
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