Tullock And Buchanan Analysis

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Buchanan’s and Tullock’s publication of The Calculus of Consent (Buchanan and Tullock, 1962) unified and set forth James Buchanan’s contractarian and individualist views. In The Calculus, Buchanan and Tullock proposed an analysis that applied microeconomic thought to the realm of political science by theorizing that political agents, no different than ordinary individuals, are utility maximizing and self interested. With this assumption, Buchanan and Tullock analyzed political organization and the set of rules under which individuals collectively make decisions. For Buchanan, the outcome of The Calculus was decisive and optimistic: “Democracy works, if organized along the lines of American constitutional republic” (Buchanan, 2007: 113).
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The authors begin by extending an economic model to politics: individuals involved in the political process have diverse utility functions and make decisions to maximize utility. Buchanan and Tullock further this individualistic principle to group decisions and government, arguing that group decisions are no more than the aggregate of individual choices made by each member of the group and that government is simply a “machine which allows such collective action to take place”. (1962, …show more content…
Buchanan begins by analyzing socially unorganized, utilitarian individuals in Hobbesian anarchy, who spend their time producing goods or protecting and stealing goods from others. Eventually, when individuals are accustomed to the production possibilities and preferences of others, equilibrium will form. Once in equilibrium, Buchanan theorizes a disarmament agreement and property rights will be established in a mutually agreed upon constitution. Consequently, the “protective state” is formed, and its constitution minimizes defense costs and allows free trade to develop, thereby increasing utility for all. Having secured protection and private property, individuals will continue to act cooperatively. Demand for public goods will form and people will collectively add new clauses to their collective social contract, thereby transitioning to the “productive state”. Buchanan stresses that in order to maximize liberty these new laws must be efficient for all and non-excludable. Under these conditions, the state will grow as the collective sees

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