Deficits, Debt, and Democracy: Wrestling with Tragedy on the Fiscal Commons (Hardback)
  • Deficits, Debt, and Democracy: Wrestling with Tragedy on the Fiscal Commons (Hardback)
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Deficits, Debt, and Democracy: Wrestling with Tragedy on the Fiscal Commons (Hardback)

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£70.00
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 29/02/2012
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This timely book reveals that the budget deficits and accumulating debts that plague modern democracies reflect a clash between two rationalities of governance: one of private property and one of common property. The clashing of these rationalities at various places in society creates forms of societal tectonics that play out through budgeting. The book demonstrates that while this clash is an inherent feature of democratic political economy, it can nonetheless be limited through embracing once again a constitution of liberty. Not all commons settings have tragic outcomes, of course, but tragic outcomes loom large in democratic processes because they entail conflict between two very different forms of substantive rationality; the political and market rationalities. These are both orders that contain interactions among participants, but the institutional frameworks that govern those interactions differ, generating democratic budgetary tragedies. Those tragedies, moreover, are inherent in the conflict between the different rationalities and so cannot be eliminated. They can, as this book argues, be reduced by restoring a constitution of liberty in place of the constitution of control that has taken shape throughout the west over the past century. Economists interested in public finance, public policy and political economy along with scholars of political science, public administration, law and political philosophy will find this book intriguing.

Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9780857934598
Number of pages: 208
Dimensions: 156 x 234 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'. . . Deficits, Debt, and Democracy is an important book which should hopefully shakeup public finance. Wagner's focus on the entanglement of politics and markets and on budgetary outcomes as the products of competition and spontaneous ordering on the fiscal commons is insightful. His framework provides plausible explanations for observed budgetary outcomes (e.g., persistent deficits) and casts serious doubt on continued efforts to correct them. It also injects a welcome degree of complexity to an area which for far too long has been treated as relatively easy to model. As such, it is a welcome addition to the literature, and presents a formidable challenge to those who would espouse the merits and conclusions of more traditional approaches.' -- George R. Crowley, Review of Austrian Economics
`With Wagner's book, we now have a theoretical ice pick to pierce through the obvious outcomes on the surface to get a glimpse at the processes behind it.' -- Wolf von Laer, Journal of the History of Economic Thought
`Richard Wagner's Deficits, Debt, and Democracy: Wrestling with Tragedy on the Fiscal Commons is essentially a sequel to his 2007 book, Fiscal Sociology and the Theory of Public Finance. . . Wagner's framework merits wide attention. Specialists in public choice or public finance should put both Deficits, Debt and Democracy and Fiscal Sociology at the top of their reading lists. Wagner's framework could shed light on a great many questions beyond public finance, leading one to hope that this book is but one sequel in an ongoing franchise.' -- Adam Martin, Zentralblatt MATH

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