Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Death of a Tradition? - Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Vol. 6 of the Collected Works
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The Death of a Tradition? - James M. Buchanan, Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Vol. 6 of the Collected Works 
The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Foreword by Geoffrey Brennan, Hartmut Kliemt, and Robert D. Tollison, 20 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999-2002). Vol. 6 Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory.
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The Death of a Tradition?
At the London School of Economics, the ideas on cost developed by Robbins, Hayek, Coase, Thirlby, and others formed a part of a developing oral tradition which included many participants. Modern adherents to this tradition seem scarce, however, and only Jack Wiseman fully qualifies. In two basic papers published in the 1950’s, Wiseman tried as others had earlier tried to apply LSE opportunity-cost logic to the long-discussed problems of marginal-cost pricing, applying this logic both as general criteria for organizing a collectivist economy and as the specific criterion for public-utility enterprise.32
Wiseman shifted from LSE to York in 1963 and Thirlby retired from active academic life in 1962. There remain, no doubt, residues of the opportunity-cost tradition at LSE, but this does not inform the mainstream in either the teaching of economic theory or in the scholarly contributions of staff members. In the United States, the influence of Mises and his latter-day Austrian followers seems peripheral to the modern mainstream of economic theory. The concept of opportunity cost which emerged from both the subjectivist-Austrian and the common-sense approaches—the concept that blossomed for two decades at LSE—seems to have lost in its struggle for a place among the paradigms of modern economics. Along with other conundrums in intellectual history, this is not easy to explain. The arguments have not been refuted, and within their limits they surely remain valid. Hopefully, this book will generate a partial resurrection by delineating the methodological foundations of the two parallel theories of economic process.33
[32. ]Jack Wiseman, “Uncertainty, Costs and Collectivist Economic Planning,” Economica, XX (May 1953), 118-28; and his “The Theory of Public Utility Price—An Empty Box,” Oxford Economic Papers, IX (February 1957), 56-74.
[33. ]The manuscript for this book was completed before I had access to the article on “Cost” by A. A. Alchian in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, III (New York: Macmillan, 1969), pp. 404-15.