Beyond Politics

The Roots of Government Failure

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Providing students of economics, politics, and policy with a concise explanation of public choice, markets, property, and political and economic processes, this record identifies what kinds of actions are beyond the ability of government. Combining public choice with studies of the value of property rights, markets, and institutions, this account produces a much different picture of modern political economy than the one accepted by mainstream political scientists and welfare economists. It demonstrates that when citizens request that their governments do more than it is possible, net benefits are reduced, costs are increased, and wealth and freedom are diminished. Solutions are also suggested with the goal to improve the lot of those who should be the ultimate sovereigns in a democracy: the citizens.

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Praise for Beyond Politics:

“Beyond Politics is a superb, thought-provoking and penetrating book, analyzing the real, as opposed to the presumed, effects og government regulation. This outstanding book deserves to be read by all serious students of government policy.”
- Sam Peltzman, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

“Beyond Politics is a major contribution to informed comment. The book is so well written and the subject is so important and exciting that a great many people will find it very entertaining even if they do learn while reading it. We can welcome the book as a major step forward in understanding the dynamics of government and markets, and how both affect us all.”
- Gordon Tullock, University Professor of Law and Economics and Distinguished Research Fellow, George Mason University

“Throughout the world, publics are looking for a new conception of government and its role. Happily, there is a whole new theory that fills the bill called ‘public choice,’ and which is clearly and persuasively presented in the excellent book, Beyond Politics.”
- Robert L. Bartley, late Editor, The Wall Street Journal

“Beyond Politics is a lively book that very effectively analyzes the very real phenomena of government failure. . . . The authors make a significant contribution by dealing informatively with the side of the matter that welfare economics tends to neglect and make a vigorous case for the view that government intervention in the workings of the market should never be taken lightly.”
- William J. Baumol, Director, C. V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University

“We have needed an answer to the question often asked: ‘Can you refer me to a single book that will explain in simple language what Public Choice is all about?’ Beyond Politics by William Mitchell and Randy Simmons meets this need superbly. The authors have assembled the required understanding of both economics and politics that allows them to get straight to the important elements involved.”
- James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, Center for the Study of Public Choice, George Mason University

“In Beyond Politics, William Mitchell and Randy Simmons have written an accessible and compelling account of the major issue of our time -- the intersection of politics and the market. With great care they first develop and then demolish the standard arguments about market failure that are commonly taken to justify the creation of a vast government bureaucracy. They show how the forces of self-interest are given a new destructive range in political and administrative settings that allow interest groups, politicians and bureaucrats to enhance their own position at the expense of the public at large. And they illustrate their basic point with countless well-chosen examples of bureaucratic misdeeds that should make even the most ardent defenders of big government question the soundness of the ever-expanding welfare state.”
- Richard A. Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus; Editor, Journal of Law and Economics, The Law School, University of Chicago

"There is a need for a public philosophy that would provide a framework for discussion of appropriate spheres for markets and government.... The seeds of such a public philosophy are to be found in this book."
- American Political Science Review

"Beyond Politics is a valuable analysis, making a cogent case for thoroughly rethinking what government should do. The book deserves wide reading."
- John Engler, former Governor of Michigan

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Randy T. Simmons is a political scientist who emphasizes the importance of economic reasoning to better understand public policy. He believes the study of politics cannot be separated from the study of markets. Simmons uses this framework to evaluate environmental and natural resource policies. The real challenge of the social process, as he sees...
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