James Buchanan fylder 90

Forleden, helt præcist den 3. oktober, fyldte økonomen og Nobelpristageren James Buchanan 90. Buchanan, der har brugt sin karrieres lange efterår på George Mason University, grundlagde sammen med bl.a. Gordon Tullock den skole i nationaløkonomi, der kaldes the Virginia School of Political Economy. Hvis man lægger nogle få elementer til, er skolen endnu bedre kendt som Public Choice.

I den forbindelse afholdt GMU en fødselsdagsfest med inviterede fra hele verden. Jeg talte forleden med den fremragende økonom/filosof Geoffrey Brennan fra ANU i Canberra, der glad kunne fortælle, at han også skulle med. Efter omtalen har deltagerlisten været en perlerække af førende public choice-forskere, der alle på en eller anden måde er knyttet til Buchanan og GMU.

Til festlighederne holdt bl.a. Don Boudreaux (bl.a. kendt som blogger på Cafe Hayek) en kort tale, hvor han ud af de 64 Nobelpristagere kun kunne identificere seks (6), der fundamentalt har ændret den måde, vi tænker økonomi på. Ud af de seks så Boudreaux kun tre, der havde udvirket positive ændringer: Ronald Coase, Friedrich Hayek og James Buchanan. Boudreaux sagde blandt andet:

“The only other Nobel economist in this camp is the man whose career we celebrate today: Jim Buchanan.
Jim, of course, helped us to better understand externalities, the burden of the public debt, the logic of clubs, the importance of increasing returns, and many other specific points that we would all do well to absorb.
But Jim’s single greatest contribution is to make crystal clear the fact that political activity does not fundamentally differ from market activity.
Jim’s work warns us not to be distracted by labels and by superficial appearances. Politicians might be called “public servants” – but, being steeped in Buchananism, we understand that the root motivation of “public servants” is no different than the root motivation of corporate CEOs, lumberjacks, taxi drivers, or college professors.
A bureaucracy might be called the “consumer product safety commission,” but being steeped in Buchananism, we look not at its name but at the incentives faced by its operatives to judge how likely this agency really is to promote consumer safety as opposed to other goals.
By challenging us to understand that exchanges take place not only within conventional markets – not only when the exchanges are mediated by money – but instead are a ubiquitous and many-faced phenomenon of human action, Jim Buchanan has expanded the scope and subject matter of economics intelligently and more productively than has any other living scholar.
Happy 90th, Jim!”

Store, velfortjente ord. Nu mangler vi bare at indsigterne siver ud til almindelige danskere.

2 Kommentarer

  1. Her er et link også:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7PtoStD3RY

    Jeg mener iøvrigt at have læst et sted, at Buchanan som ung var lidt i retning af det socialdemokratiske, men at Frank Knights økonomi overbeviste ham om, at gå i en – helt anden – retning.

  2. Christian Bjørnskov

    30. oktober 2009 at 11:56

    @Trane: Ja, han var noget venstredrejet i sine unge dage, man kom meget hurtigt på andre tanker. Prøv for eksempel at læse interviewet i Karen Horns fine “Roads to Wisdom”.

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