Around Robin Hood's Barn (Economic Principals)

March 21, 2016

Sandra Peart, dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, discusses Nobel economics laureate James M. Buchanan in Economic Principals column. Peart is a distinguished economist with special expertise in the history of economic thought and political economy, especially in the context of ethical leadership.


When Middle Tennessee State University defeated heavily-favored Michigan State University in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament last week, I couldn’t help but thinking about how MTSU’s most famous graduate would have savored the upset victory. Nobody symbolized skeptical, critical, courageous resistance to the complacencies of elite opinion better than that Tennessee populist, Nobel economics laureate James M. Buchanan (’40).

But Buchanan died in 2013, at 94. So I consulted his liveliest inheritors, the frequent collaborators David Levy, of George Mason University, and Sandra Peart, of the University of Richmond. Peart wrote: “He would be so pleased to see the scrappy underdog beat the powerhouse!”

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