The economist who did more to explain how the modern world really works than anyone else.
The theory was called “public choice”. And the heart of it is that those who rule us are incentivised by just the same economic desires and motives as the rest of us.
This explains why PCS, the union of the taxmen, employs Richard J Murtphy. Sod all to do with the tax gap. All about calling for an increase the number of jobs for members of the taxman’s union.
It explains why the Royal College of Nursing shouted all those years that nursing had to become a graduate profession. So that the wages for nurses would rise.
You can multiply out the examples as you wish. But I would and do argue that this aids more than almost any other modern day theory in making sense of the world.
In short, why is government so shite? Because governors are shits just like the rest of us.
It also provides a prop for my (quite possibly unreasoned, I admit that it might simply be prejudice) rejection of Keynesian fiscal stimulus. In effect, the statement is that allowing Ed Balls to spend more of our money will make everything better. Clearly, allowing Ed Balls to do so will not. But public choice theory tells us why even if we had a human being doing it instead of Ed, it still wouldn’t work as advertised.
So Buchanan leaves us after a long life (he was 93) well lived. For he’s aided us all in making sense of the universe around us.