Socialism Is Dead But Leviathan Lives On

In the seventh John Bonython Lecture, James Buchanan observes that the death of socialism has not been accompanied by the rise of any widespread faith in the free enterprise system, even though that system has shown itself to be superior to socialism in producing prosperity. ‘Politics will not work, but there is no generalised willingness to leave things alone’.

Public choice theory has helped to explain the failures of politics by demonstrating how vulnerable political processes are to pressure from organised special interests. That pressure will continue to bring about the expansion of state intervention until we learn how to contain politics within its proper limits. ‘The death throes of socialism should not be allowed to distract attention from the continuing necessity to prevent the overreaching of the state-as-Leviathan, which becomes all the more dangerous because it does north depend on an ideology to give it focus.’