Inaugural Buchanan Lecture and Exhibit Honor Nobel Prize Winner

Posted: April 5, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

The Center for Study of Public Choice and University Libraries are hosting the first James M. Buchanan Lecture on Friday, April 7, with distinguished guest speakers and a historical exhibit. The lecture, open to the public, will take place at 4 p.m. in Innovation Hall, Room 103, on the Fairfax Campus.

Deirdre McCloskey, a distinguished professor of the liberal arts and sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be the keynote speaker with “The Hobbes Problem: From Machiavelli to Buchanan.”

McCloskey is also a professor of economics, philosophy, art and cultural studies at Erasmus Universitiet, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She is the author of 20 books on economics, British economic history and the rhetoric and philosophy of economics. Her latest book, “The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce,” will be published in June.

Following the lecture, a reception will be held and an exhibit titled “Biography of a Book” will be on display in the Mason Hall Atrium. The exhibit was organized by University Libraries on the life and work of James Buchanan, advisory general director of the Center for Study of Public Choice and distinguished professor emeritus at George Mason who won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986. Letters, photographs and other documents related to Buchanan’s classic text, “The Calculus of Consent,” are part of the exhibit. Robert Vay, electronics text coordinator, will also discuss the process of making these materials available online.

“The Calculus of Consent” was published in 1962 and presented public choice theory as an innovative approach to analyzing the political process as it relates to the economy. The book, which has been translated into several languages, remains influential to this day. It is a staple in the canon of university-level economic study.

The James M. Buchanan Lecture is dedicated to the public choice discourse and draws inspiration from the pioneering scholarship of Buchanan. Buchanan was the founder, with Warren Nutter, of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy at the University of Virginia, and also founder, with Gordon Tullock of George Mason, of what later became the Public Choice Society.

The center was devoted to the preservation of social order based on individual liberty; it facilitated scholarly discussions and research on economics. In 1969, the center was reconstituted at Virginia Tech under its present name, and in 1983, the center and Buchanan came to George Mason University.

The talk is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested by contacting Rebecca Forest at rforrest@gmu.edu or 703-993-2251.

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