Friday, July 21, 2017

James Buchanan and the Austrian School of Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

In her pathetic smearbook, Democracy in Chains, Duke University historian Nancy MacLean attempts to libel and smear not only Nobel laureate economist James M. Buchanan, but also the Austrian School and classical liberalism in general.  This has generated some questions about Buchanan:  Was he really a libertarian?  Was he a fellow traveler of the Austrian School?

After Buchanan won the Nobel Prize I was asked to write an article for the Review of Austrian Economics, edited by Murray Rothbard, about Buchanan’s relation to the Austrian School of Economics.  I was asked because I was a student of Buchanan’s;  I had been a colleague of his for a few years at George Mason University; I had published widely in both public choice and Austrian economics; and Buchanan had also published some important work in Austrian economics, although his main reputation was in public finance and public choice.

Here is my article, published in 1990.  Here is Murray Rothbard’s devastating critique of Buchanan’s Magnum Opus, The Calculus of Consent (with Gordon Tullock).

The above originally appeared at

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