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The Making of a Constitutionalist: James Buchanan on Education

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  • Jean-Baptiste Fleury

    (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - UCP - Université de Cergy Pontoise - Université Paris-Seine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Alain Marciano

    () (MRE - Montpellier Recherche en Economie - UM - Université de Montpellier)

Abstract

This article studies the few works James Buchanan wrote on education from the end of the 1950s to the early 1970s. These neglected works tell us important things about how Buchanan's ideas on constitutions evolved through time, because they provided Buchanan with the opportunity to apply his ideas about constitutions and, in return, nurture his theoretical thinking. Two historical developments were of importance in the evolution of Buchanan's thinking: the Southern reactions to the Supreme Court's injunction to desegregate public schools in the late 1950s, and, in the late 1960s, university unrest. We argue that Buchanan moved from a rather optimistic conception that constitutions complement market mechanisms, and constitutional manipulation can be tolerated if market mechanisms were sufficiently important to nonetheless let individuals do what they want, to a really pessimistic view – a constitution is absolutely necessary to control and even coerce behaviors. Behind these claims stands Buchanan's conception of what is a " good society " and of the role of the economist in its defense.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Baptiste Fleury & Alain Marciano, 2018. "The Making of a Constitutionalist: James Buchanan on Education," Post-Print hal-01835036, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01835036
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-01835036
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tiago Mata, 2010. "The Enemy Within: Academic Freedom in 1960s and 1970s American Social Sciences," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 42(5), pages 77-104, Supplemen.
    2. Peter Boettke & Alain Marciano, 2015. "The past, present and future of Virginia Political Economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 53-65, April.
    3. William R. Allen, 2010. "A Life among the Econ, Particularly at UCLA," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 7(3), pages 205-234, September.
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    Keywords

    Warren Court; Liberalism; University; Education; Constitutional economics; James Buchanan; Brown vs Board of education; History of Economic Thought; History of Political Economy;

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