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Politics as Tragedy in Several Acts

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  • James M. Buchanan

Abstract

James Madison noted that government would be unnecessary if men were angels. The shortfall of value between the idealized anarchy of a society of angels and the society of men as they are measures the tragedy of politics, which emerges at several levels. Resources are required for the maintenance of order, and those agents who are guardians of order will not, themselves, be angels. Further, rents promised to such agents will attract efforts at capture. Reductions in the measure of the tragedy remain possible through both shifts in ethical standards, at all levels, and shifts in institutional-constitutional structures. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economics & Politics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (07)
Pages: 181-191

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:15:y:2003:i:2:p:181-191

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Cited by:
  1. Stringham, Edward Peter, 2011. "Embracing morals in economics: The role of internal moral constraints in a market economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 98-109.
  2. Scharfenkamp, Katrin, 2013. "Composition effects of the German Federal Government on the average top income tax burden," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 2/2013, University of M√ľnster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
  3. Edward J. Kane, 2009. "Unmet Duties in Managing Financial Safety Nets," NFI Policy Briefs 2009-PB-06a, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute, revised Apr 2010.

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