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Deficits, Debt, And Democracy

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Deficits, Debt, And Democracy

Wrestling with Tragedy on the Fiscal Commons

Richard E. Wagner

Richard E. Wagner, Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics, Economics Department, George Mason University, US

2012 208 pp Hardback 978 0 85793 459 8
2013 Paperback 978 1 78100 705 1
ebook isbn 978 0 85793 460 4

Hardback £65.00 on-line price £58.50

Paperback £20.00 on-line price £16.00

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Description
This timely book reveals that the budget deficits and accumulating debts that plague modern democracies reflect a clash between two rationalities of governance: one of private property and one of common property. The clashing of these rationalities at various places in society creates forms of societal tectonics that play out through budgeting. The book demonstrates that while this clash is an inherent feature of democratic political economy, it can nonetheless be limited through embracing once again a constitution of liberty.

Contents
Contents: Preface 1. Budgeting: The Elusive Quest for Fiscal Responsibility 2. Budgeting and Political Economy: A Theoretical Framework 3. Budget Deficits, Ricardian Equivalence, and Macro–Micro Supervenience 4. Property Rights, Societal Tectonics, and the Fiscal Commons 5. Parliamentary Assemblies as Peculiar Market Bazaars 6. Taxation, Fiscal Politics, and Political Pricing 7. Regulation as Alternative Taxation 8. Public Finance for a Constitution of Liberty Bibliography Index

Further information

This timely book reveals that the budget deficits and accumulating debts that plague modern democracies reflect a clash between two rationalities of governance: one of private property and one of common property. The clashing of these rationalities at various places in society creates forms of societal tectonics that play out through budgeting. The book demonstrates that while this clash is an inherent feature of democratic political economy, it can nonetheless be limited through embracing once again a constitution of liberty.

Not all commons settings have tragic outcomes, of course, but tragic outcomes loom large in democratic processes because they entail conflict between two very different forms of substantive rationality; the political and market rationalities. These are both orders that contain interactions among participants, but the institutional frameworks that govern those interactions differ, generating democratic budgetary tragedies. Those tragedies, moreover, are inherent in the conflict between the different rationalities and so cannot be eliminated. They can, as this book argues, be reduced by restoring a constitution of liberty in place of the constitution of control that has taken shape throughout the west over the past century.

Economists interested in public finance, public policy and political economy along with scholars of political science, public administration, law and political philosophy will find this book intriguing.



 
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