Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wisdom of Untersuchungen...........

Now, we are in once again hardcore election time if anything matter at most in economics is the public finance in which the elected government will do its job as business as usual. 

There are differences in assessment of the performance of a company or consumer behaviour (read as benefits or gains or loss) from a market: buying and selling things. 

But when it comes to the assessment of a representative of people in a democracy it is always a difficult job and the odd will prevail at most. In other words as Buchanan said “ political exchange, there is no decentralized process that allows "efficiency" to be evaluated deontologically, akin to the evaluation of a market. Individuals cannot, by the nature of the goods that are collectively "purchased" in politics, adjust their own behavior to common terms of trade. The political analogue to decentralized trading among individuals must be that feature common over all exchanges, which is agreement among the individuals who participate. The unanimity rule for collective choice is the political analogue to freedom of exchange of partitionable goods in markets.” 

Though, Mr Bob McTeer President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said economist Johan Gustav Knut Wicksell  “…favored a mild form of socialism, achieved gradually and built on the foundations of a welfare state”. 

But public choice theory economist James M. Buchanan Jr quoted in his Nobel lecture and is quite interesting to ponder. In fact it is also right time to remember what he has said decades ago. Excerpts from his lecture: 

  • “The science of public finance should always keep... political conditions clearly in mind. Instead of expecting guidance from a doctrine of taxation that is based on the political philosophy of by-gone ages, it should instead endeavor to unlock the mysteries of the spirit of progress and development. (Wicksell, p. 87.). 
  • If utility is zero for each individual member of the community, the total utility for the community cannot be other than zero. (Wicksell, p. 77.) 
  • ... neither the executive nor the legislative body, and even less the deciding majority in the latter, are in reality ... what the ruling theory tells us they should be. They are not pure organs of the community with no thought other than to promote the common weal.
  • ... members of the representative body are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, precisely as interested in the general welfare as are their constituents, neither more nor less. (Wicksell, pp. 86, 87.) 
  • It would seem to be a blatant injustice if someone should be forced to contribute toward the costs of some activity which does not further his interests or may even be diametrically opposed to them. (Wicksell, p. 89.) 
  • ... whether the benefits of the proposed activity to the individual citizens would be greater than its cost to them, no one can judge this better than the individuals themselves. (Wicksell, p. 79.) 
  • The ultimate goal ... is equality before the law, greatest possible liberty, and the economic well-being and peaceful cooperation of all people. (Wicksell, p. 88.)

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