People share a universal behavioural trait: if there are profits to be made, the effort to get that money will attract investment. This is true in the private sector, the market sector, as well as the public sector.

— James M. Buchanan

The most glamorous James M. Buchanan quotes that will activate your desire to change

We want to limit the exploitation of the fiscal capacity of the richer regions by keeping down the rate of immigration to a level that would be meaningful and efficient. One way to do that is to have a scheme of equalization which essential bribes people to stay in the poorer regions.

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I think the world has changed dramatically since September 11th.

It should force us to recognize that we are going to have to defend the free institutions of our society against those who are simply not willing to belong to a civil order.

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If politicians get money to spend and don't have to be responsible for taxation, then of course that will bias their attitude toward more spending as opposed to cutting back on spending.

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America is perhaps excessively mobile in the sense that there is sometimes not enough stability in communities. Dynamism in the economy is not necessarily the "be all and end all".

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If you create an artificial scarcity through public policy, artificial rent so to speak - setting up a new import quota or giving out a particular office that is very beneficial - people are going to invest money, time and resources in trying to secure that opportunity. If the value is created independently of the search for it, the search for it is wasted.

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If you are going to spend for one group, you have to spend the same for every group, just like if you tax one group you have to tax everybody. You have to go back to having more general laws, more general taxes and more general spending programs.

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Politically, sometimes you get situations where rent control will go through.

It is especially true in an emergency, where there is a sudden, sharp increase in demand for housing or a cut back in supply. People will simply not allow the marketplace to allocate housing resources and so you get pressures for rent control. Once you have it, it is hard to eliminate.

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Clearly, I am not an anarchist. Philosophically, I might be, but I think in practical terms.

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The assumption that we can keep societies open and free to everybody is going to have to stop. We are going to have to recognize that some people simply are not qualified and do not want to belong a civil order. Until we begin to make discrimination along those lines, then I think we are going to be extremely vulnerable.

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Liberals have lost the soul. We haven't recognized the necessity of defending our own system at the level of ideas. We have to get people to treat the idea of a free society as a civic religion or a faith. We need to fight for that faith.

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We try to prevent the creation of artificial rents.

Rather than setting up quotas to stop imports we levy a tariff, that would be better. Or we pay wages in the public sector which are roughly equivalent to the productivity in the private sector and we don't therefore make it a special benefit to get a bureaucratic position.

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Politicians and bureaucrats are no different from the rest of us.

They will maximize their incentives just like everybody else.

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About James M. Buchanan

Quotes 18 sayings
Profession Economist
Birthday October 3, 1919

Politics is a romantic search for the good and the true and the beautiful.

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It is much more difficult to get implemented politically what might be desirable economically. Even if you came out with an economic argument in favor of equalization - and I think there are arguments on both sides - I would still come down in favour of some sort of a scheme on strict economic grounds.

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Building on the public's unwillingness to act on principle in support of market solutions to apparent problems, whether real or imagined, these interest groups secure arbitrary restrictions on voluntary exchanges and, in the process, secure rents for their members while reducing both the liberties and economic well being of other members of the economic nexus, both domestically and internationally.

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How would the US be different today if people coming off the boat were greeted with a welfare check instead of a shovel?

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Imagine that Queen Elizabeth I, in her time, had the opportunity to give out a monopoly for playing cards within the kingdom. She knew she was going to give it to one of her courtiers. These courtiers would then all try to curry her favour. Meanwhile, they would not contribute anything to the product of the kingdom, in fact, they were wasting resources trying to secure a single prize. That, more or less, is rent seeking.

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