Quotation of the Day

Gordon Tullock, in 1965’s The Politics of Bureaucracy, on who’s really in charge in a democracy, on p. 133 of volume 6 of his selected works, Bureacuracy:

[W]e must recognize that the slogan: “The mob is in the streets. I must find out where it is going, for I am its leader,” is a good one for any democratic politician.

The politician looks like he’s in charge, but isn’t really. And in a mass of voters, none of them are really in charge either, since no single voter has more than an infinitesimal influence on the outcome.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Single-sovereign situations are almost always less than free. And while I bemoan the lack of economic liberalism in today’s public opinion, it’s something of a miracle the policies we see aren’t even worse. The structure of democracy has a lot to do with it.

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