The problem of low expectations and the principled politician
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 April 2022
Nobel laureate James Buchanan downplays any theory of ethical politicians, focusing instead on rules which economize personal restraint, setting lower moral expectations. Through a constructive critique of James Buchanan’s work, I argue these lowered expectations come at a cost: degraded character in politicians, leading to constitutional decay. Buchanan lacks a theory to address choices between (a) action which furthers the politician’s self-interest and (b) action which protects some already accepted, good rule, but which does not further their self-interest. I generate a theory of the Principled Politician, an agent characterized by a prior commitment to fair play.
- © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press