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    Lee, Dwight R. and Clark, JR. 2014. A Presidential Tribute to James M. Buchanan: In Appreciation of the Man, His Work, and His Example. Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 80, Issue. 4, p. 905.



  • J. R. Clark (a1) and Dwight R. Lee (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2009

This paper considers prevailing environmental policy in the United States with the emphasis on liberty, markets, utilizing information, entrepreneurial discovery, and the economic analysis of political decisions (public choice). The general discussion is illustrated by the concern over global warming and policies for addressing this concern. The political incentives to confront environmental problems directly with mandates, restrictions, and subsidies ignore the power of liberty and market incentives to solve problems by fostering an impressive network of information transfer, increasing innovation, and expanding prosperity. Indeed, most environmental policies systematically suppress liberty, censor the communication of information, and retard innovation and prosperity, with the result that they provide less environmental quality at greater cost than is possible. While such flawed policies might be justified in cases where pollution problems pose clear, serious, and immediate threats, we argue this is not true of global warming, and the most effective response to concerns over carbon emissions may be limiting the discretionary power of government to take direct action and rely on the indirect effects of liberty and market incentives to move us beyond the petroleum age more quickly and efficiently than will result from the direct action of government.

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William D. Nordhaus , “Reflections on the Economics of Climate Change,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 7, no. 4 (Fall1993): 1125

Kenneth S. Chapman and Govind Hariharan , “Do Poor People Have a Stronger Relationship between Income and Mortality Than the Rich?Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 12, no. 1 (January 1996): 5163

Paul H. Rubin , “Folk Economics,” Southern Economic Journal 70, no. 1 (July 2003): 157–71

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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