The Economist Who Hated Democracy


The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories


James McGill Buchanan may be the most influential conservative economic thinker you’ve never heard of. His belief that liberty (in the free-markets sense) was incompatible with democracy (in the people-power sense) has shaped the conservative movement from the Goldwater era to the present, according to a new book by Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains (Alex Shephard in The New Republic).

MacLean traces the roots of Buchanan’s thinking to the dawn of the school voucher movement in the fallout of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that barred segregated schools. In his lifetime, Buchanan, who died four years ago, was often overshadowed by Milton Friedman, who became the celebrity market-promoting economist.

Read More