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Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the…

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth…

by Nancy MacLean

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This book documents the history of the political and economic ideology that has come to dominate the Republican party today. A lot of the familiar figures are here from Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman to Charles and David Koch. But the central figure of this narrative is James Buchanan, founder of the "Virginia school" of political economy - teaching and training economists at University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University - and a major figure in the Mont Pelerin Society and Cato Institute. Buchanan put forward the public choice theory which introduced many familiar ideas of limited government, anti-regulation, anti-taxation, and rewarding the "job creators" into the public debate. He also came up with long-term strategies of eroding the public's trust in the government and using the proximity to Washington, DC to keep close ties with right wing leaders while economists trained in his methods went through a revolving door between academia, lobbying, and government positions. MacLean's writing is obviously biased and I doubt that many of her most conspiratorial implications are 100% accurate. Nevertheless it is clear that this particular form of right-wing/libertarian ideology has taken hold of at least one major party and the wealthy individuals and corporations who support it, and that it is due to a many decade effort to influence hearts and minds by Buchanan and his cohort. ( )
  Othemts | Oct 1, 2017 |
Perhaps the most important book I have read in decades. Explains the career and thought of an obscure economist named James McGill Buchanan. He was a libertarian who advocated secretly undermining American democracy in order to achieve his program. These ideas have in more recent decades been promoted and funded by Charles Koch and have great support within the right and the Republican Party today. The book tells us what to expect if these ideas of pure "economic freedom" become ever more incorporated into our public policy. Some parts of the book can seem tedious and too detailed concerning Buchanan's career, but it is absolutely essential that as many of us as possible understand the book's message. ( )
1 vote Illiniguy71 | Sep 10, 2017 |
From and article by sam Tanenhaus in the Aus Fin Review 30jun2017
story of american buchanan herbert hoover, taft, well healed radical right
  Brumby18 | Aug 10, 2017 |
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