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James Buchanan is dead. But his ideas will live for ever.

A few months ago I created a list of the world's top 10 living economists. James Buchanan was the TOP MOST living economist, according to my list.

Now he is dead.

I mourn his passing, but celebrate his many contributions to mankind.

Buchanan is best known (along with Tullock) for bringing the logic of economics into play in our public choices (e.g. how much of a road to have vs. how much of a public park).

I’ve been remiss in reading James Buchanan. I've liked his essay, “Soul of Classical Liberalism”, glanced through parts of Calculus of Consent, and broadly understood his work, but have never had time to understand him fully.

At this point let me just post a few good blog posts/articles on Buchanan for you to read (in no particular order).

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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3 thoughts on “James Buchanan is dead. But his ideas will live for ever.
  1. vijay

    Hi Sanjeev, read briefly the citizens govt idea. What question I have is how would you ensure the services are provided and justice is done eventually? This is not something like RTI where you can actually hold someone responsible officially. Or, are you talking about just helping RTI activists via the citizens govt? Unless there is a govt.recognized grievance redressal mechanism they can just ignore your complaints

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    “how would you ensure the services are provided and justice is done eventually”.

    Well, we’d hope we have multiple options to escalate and monitor – including raising matters with press, and naming and shaming bad officers, etc.

    The elected government can be held to account by many means such as press and civil society. CGOV can use a range of non-governmental options.

    What do you have in mind?

  3. vijay

    Sanjeev, my point was that there are a lot of voluntary RTI activists out there already doing almost similar work. Is the citizens government just an organized way of mobilizing volunteers and carrying out RTI-like work or is it something different?
    Press/media would not be interested in such issues unless some big name crops up. Even then , they tend to be selective. Look at what happened to Kejriwal. I believe the RTI offices are understaffed and overloaded with complaints. You will end up with a huge list of officers to name and shame.So wonder whats the thought process is here.

    Also wherever available, a tie up with the state Lokayukta would also be good. In states like Karnataka for instance Lokayukta have been active in rounding up errant/corrupt officers.

    Filing PILs for larger issues can also bring out a lot of attention. Looks like PIL has been used quite often of late to challenge some govt. policies/decisions.

    I also think you should extend your exercise of finding honest IAS officers to including those honest govt. officials in civil services and other govt. offices whose hands are tied and mouths are shut because ofa corrupt higher officer or colleagues. They might be able to blow the whistles a little freely given the backing of a citizens govt. like organization


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