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The Calculus of Consent after Thirty Years.

  • Economics
  • Philosophy


It is shown that the basic normative argument of the 'calculus' is moored to a collectivistic unanimity norm. As most scholars working in the field of public choice, including the authors of the seminal 'calculus,' would otherwise reject collectivistic normative premises, a reinterpretation of the status of the unanimity principle of the 'calculus' seems unavoidable. The paper argues that this can be done if the basic formation of a society is not characterized as starting from a given set of individuals but rather in terms of the formation of clubs. This amounts to the same thing as substituting universalistic ethical premises by particularistic ones which are more in line with standard economic methodology. Copyright 1994 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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