Liberty, Democracy, and Government Growth: The Role of Interests and Ideology


This conference was concerned with why governments have grown beyond the size and scope that can be reasonably considered consistent with the liberty and prosperity of their citizens, and why it is so difficult to reverse government growth once it has occurred.


From Liberty Fund

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (vol. 2)

by By Adam Smith
Edited by R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner
William B. Todd, Textual Editor

First published in 1776, the year in which the American Revolution officially began, Smith’s Wealth of Nations sparked a revolution of its own. In it Smith analyzes the major elements of political economy, from market pricing and the division of labor to monetary, tax, trade, and other government policies that…

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Additional Readings

Bastiat, Frédéric. Selected Essays on Political Economy (Fourth Edition). Edited by George B. de Huszar. Translated by Seymour Cain. Irving-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, 1995. (accessed November 12, 2009).

Buchanan, James. The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.

Buchanan, James and Gordon Tullock. The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Volume 3: The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1999.

Caplan, Bryan. The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Friedman, Milton and Rose Friedman. Tyranny of the Status Quo. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1984.

Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, and James Madison. The Federalist. Edited by George W. Carey and James McClellan. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2001.

Hayek, F. A. The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Higgs, Robert. Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Kelman, Steven. Making Public Policy: A Hopeful View of American Government. New York: Basic Books, 1988.

Lee, Dwight R. “The Political Economy of Morality: Political Pretense vs. Market Performance.” Library of Economics and Liberty. (August 12, 2011).

Payne, James L. The Culture of Spending: Why Congress Lives Beyond Our Means. Richmond: ICS Press, 1991.

Samples, John. The Struggle to Limit Government: A Modern Political History. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2010.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America (De la Démocratie en Amérique). Edited by Eduardo Nolla. Translated by James T. Schleifer. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2009.

Tullock, Gordon. The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock, Volume 1: Virginia Political Economy. Edited by Charles K. Rowley. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2004.

Tullock, Gordon. “The Transitional Gains Trap.” The Bell Journal of Economics 6, no. 2 (Autumn 1975): 671-678.