Reason of Rules, The (Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, The)

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In his foreword, Robert D. Tollison identifies the main objective of Geoffrey Brennan and James M. Buchanan’s The Reason of Rules: . . . a book-length attempt to focus the energies of economists and other social analysts on the nature and function of the rules under which ordinary political life and market life function.”

In persuasive style, Brennan and Buchanan argue that too often economists become mired in explaining the obvious or constructing elaborate mathematical models to shed light on trivial phenomena. Their solution: economics as a discipline would be better focused on deriving normative procedures for establishing rules so that ordinary economic life can proceed unaffected as much as possible by social issues.

In The Reason of Rules, Brennan and Buchanan sketch out a methodological and analytical framework for the establishment of rules. They point out that the consideration of rules has its roots in classical economics and has been hinted at in the work of some contemporary economists. But the enterprise of applying the analytical rigor of modern economics to the establishment of effective rules is the little-traveled road that bears the most promise.

In fact, the basic idea of the importance of rules is a thread that runs through virtually the whole of Buchanan’s distinguished career, and it is one of his signal contributions to the contemporary discipline of economics. The Reason of Rules is an elaboration of the potential for rules and the normative process by which they can best be devised.

James M. Buchanan is an eminent economist who won the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986 and is considered one of the greatest scholars of liberty in the twentieth century.

The entire series will include:

Volume 1: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty
Volume 2: Public Principles of Public Debt
Volume 3: The Calculus of Consent
Volume 4: Public Finance in Democratic Process
Volume 5: The Demand and Supply of Public Goods
Volume 6: Cost and Choice
Volume 7: The Limits of Liberty
Volume 8: Democracy in Deficit
Volume 9: The Power to Tax
Volume 10: The Reason of Rules
Volume 11: Politics by Principle, Not Interest
Volume 12: Economic Inquiry and Its Logic
Volume 13: Politics as Public Choice
Volume 14: Debt and Taxes
Volume 15: Externalities and Public Expenditure Theory
Volume 16: Choice, Contract, and Constitutions
Volume 17: Moral Science and Moral Order
Volume 18: Federalism, Liberty, and the Law
Volume 19: Ideas, Persons, and Events
Volume 20: Indexes

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Book Description:

Societies function on the basis of rules. These rules coordinate the activities of individuals who have a variety of goals and purposes. Whether the rules work well or ill, and how they can be made to work better, is a matter of major concern. Appropriately interpreted, the working of social rules is also the central subject matter of modern political economy.

About the Author:

Recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics, James Buchanan has won international recognition for his pioneering role in the development of public-choice theory.

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