September, 2008

Democracy and the Economy: An Analysis of Buchanan's Views on Political Psychology

  • Alejandra Salinas

Key materials
Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.

Buchanan´s notion of “parental socialism” refers to the attitude of many persons who are “afraid to be free” and do not want to face "responsibility for their own actions". His diagnosis is that this behavioral fact triggers the demand for a Welfare State, thus extending collective activities over individual liberties. I claim that this psychological assumption is in tension with Buchanan´s public choice perspective: if what people pursue is wealth maximization, they will try to partially minimize the risks and costs linked to that objective by shifting the burden of welfare provision onto the State. In this light, a calculus of maximization and not fear would prevail in feeding parental socialism