Roads to Wisdom, Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics

Roads to Wisdom, Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics

Karen Ilse Horn

Karen Horn’s remarkable interviews with ten Nobel Laureates explore the conditions required for scientific progress by navigating the ‘roads to wisdom’ in economic science.

Chapter 5: James M. Buchanan

Karen Ilse Horn

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought

Extract

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA © Peter Badge/Typos1 in cooperation with the Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance, all rights reserved. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1986 ‘for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making’. INTRODUCTION Sister knows how to behave herself. Bustling around, barking nervously, begging playfully for a little bit of tenderness, she instinctively senses what it means when the microphone is turned on. She settles on the sofa, her nose comfortably between her paws, and waits silently. Sister is the amber-haired dog that James M. Buchanan is now looking after faithfully, a couple of years after his wife Anne, to whom the dog belonged, passed away. The two have taken a liking to each other, comforting each other in their loneliness at the modest farmhouse on the vast piece of land near Blacksburg, Virginia, that the couple once bought and then expanded with the Nobel Prize money. ‘When Sister was a puppy, before Anne got her, she was badly treated, they beat her up – so she is a poor, traumatized dog, and it took quite a while to give her some confidence back’, explains Buchanan. He is fond of dogs generally, as the huge collection of little porcelain, wood and plastic dogs on and around his chimney piece shows. 85 86 Roads to wisdom, conversations with ten Nobel Laureates in economics Anyway, it turns out to be a long wait...

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