Mises, Bastiat, Public Opinion, and Public Choice: What's Wrong with Democracy?

Review of Political Economy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 79-105, January 2005

45 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

See all articles by Bryan Caplan

Bryan Caplan

George Mason University - Center for Study of Public Choice; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Edward Peter Stringham

Trinity College; American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

The political economy of Ludwig von Mises and Frederic Bastiat has been largely ignored even by their admirers. We argue that Mises' and Bastiat's views in this area were both original and insightful. While traditional public choice generally maintains that democracy fails because voters' views are rational but ignored, the Mises-Bastiat view is that democracy fails because voters' views are irrational but heeded. Mises and Bastiat anticipate many of the most effective criticisms of tra4itional public choice to emerge during the last decade and point to many avenues for future research.

JEL Classification: D72, H10, P16, B53

Suggested Citation

Caplan, Bryan and Stringham, Edward Peter, Mises, Bastiat, Public Opinion, and Public Choice: What's Wrong with Democracy? (2005). Review of Political Economy, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 79-105, January 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1674482

Bryan Caplan

George Mason University - Center for Study of Public Choice ( email )

Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2324 (Phone)
703-993-2323 (Fax)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Edward Peter Stringham (Contact Author)

Trinity College ( email )

Hartford, CT 06106
United States

American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

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