Public Choice

, Volume 160, Issue 3–4, pp 567–569 | Cite as

Edmund Phelps: Mass flourishing: how grassroots innovation created jobs, challenge, and change

Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2013, xii + 378 pp, USD 29.95 (cloth)
  • Rosolino Candela
Book Review

James Buchanan argued that the role of the political economist is to “stress the technical economic principles that one must understand in order to assess alternative arrangements for promoting peaceful cooperation and productive specialization among free men. Yet political economists go further and frankly try to bring out into the open the philosophical issues that necessarily underlie all discussions of the appropriate functions of government and all proposed economic policy measures”(1958, p. 5). Although Buchanan is never mentioned in Mass Flourishing, Edmund Phelps, a Nobel laureate in economics, embraces this role of the political economist in analyzing the positive and normative implications of modern economic growth that began in the West during the early nineteenth century.

From a standpoint of positive political economy, Phelps argues that an institutional framework that protects private property rights, enforces contracts, and upholds the rule of law is a necessary...


  1. Buchanan, J. M. (1958). The Thomas Jefferson Center for studies in political economy. The University of Virginia News Letter, 35(2), 5–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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