Nobel Prize Winner in Economics. An author and distinguished professor at several universities, he was honored in 1986 for his "public choice theory" which in essence uses Game Theory to describe how politicians will run up deficits to further their self interest in maintaining power. The grandson of a Governor of Tennessee, he was raised on a Middle Tennessee farm, graduated from Middle Tennessee State Teachers College in 1940, earned a master's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1941, then during World War II served in the US Navy on the staff of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and was awarded the Bronze Star. Following the conflict Buchanan studied at the University of Chicago from whence he received his doctorate in 1948; after holding faculty positions at the University of Tennessee and Florida State University and spending a year in Italy, Dr. Buchanan moved to the University of Virginia in 1956 and while there was to found the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Political Economy and was to publish his landmark 1962 "Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy". Relocating to Virginia Tech in 1969 after a year at UCLA, he continued advocating fiscal restraint and opposing deficit spending while founding the Center for Study of Public Choice, an institution which he took with him when he accepted a professorship at George Mason University in 1983. In 1986 Dr. Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize, a move which surprised him as he was quite aware that his views were outside the mainstream; finding acceptance during the Reagan and Bush years, though he considered himself more Libertarian than Conservative, he continued to push for a flat tax and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution while maintaining that, absent legal coercion, politicians would generally put self ahead of country and use their power to "bribe" voters. A Distinguished Fellow of the Cato Institute, a Washington-based Libertarian think tank, he authored around 40 books and papers including a collection of personal essays entitled "Better than Plowing" and received several honorary doctorates. Returning to Blacksburg upon his 1997 retirement to Professor Emeritus status, he worked a 400 acre farm and continued to lecture and teach until his death. Of his greatest accolade he said "If Jim Buchanan can get a Nobel Prize anyone can".
Bio by: Bob Hufford