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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter draws on key concepts from the Austrian school of economics to consider both the practical implications for and the ethical evaluation of the ideal constitutional schemes proposed by John Rawls and James Buchanan. With regard to practicalities, the chapter challenges the types of political regimes favored by Rawls and Buchanan on the grounds that they pay insufficient attention to the “knowledge problem.” With respect to moral evaluation, the chapter argues that the contractarian method provides insufficient grounds to judge the legitimacy of political institutions in a world characterized by actors with bounded rationality and diverse standards of evaluation.

Keywords: Austrian school, bounded rationality, James Buchanan, constitutional schemes, contractarianism, John Rawls

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