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This book represents a considerable revision and expansion of Public Choice II (1989). Six new chapters have been added, and several chapters from the previous edition have been extensively revised. The discussion of empirical work in public choice has been greatly expanded. As in the previous editions, all of the major topics of public choice are covered. These include: why the state exists, voting rules, federalism, the theory of clubs, two-party and multiparty electoral systems, rent seeking, bureaucracy, interest groups, dictatorship, the size of government, voter participation, and political business cycles. Normative issues in public choice are also examined including a normative analysis of the simple majority rule, Bergson-Samuelson social welfare functions, the Arrow and Sen impossibility theorems, Rawls's social contract theory and the constitutional political economy of Buchanan and Tullock.
The rise of religious fundamentalism in different parts of the world in recent years and its association with terrorism has led to renewed interest in the nature of religion and its compatibility with Western institutions. Much of the focus of this new interest has contrasted religion and science as systems of knowledge. This book also emphasizes the difference between religion and science as means for understanding causal relationships, but it focuses much more heavily on the challenge religious extremism poses for liberal democratic institutions. The treatment contains a discussion of human psychology, describes the salient characteristics of all religions, and contrasts religion and science as systems of thought. Historical sketches are used to establish a link between modernity and the use of the human capacity for reasoning to advance human welfare. The book describes the conditions under which democratic institutions can advance human welfare, and the nature of constitutional rights as protectors of individual freedoms. Extremist religions are shown to pose a threat to liberal democracy, a threat that has implications for immigration and education policies and the definition of citizenship.
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