Front Page Titles (by Subject) I.: Introduction - The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Vol. 10 (The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy)
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I.: Introduction - Geoffrey Brennan, The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Vol. 10 (The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy) 
The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Vol. 10 (The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy) Foreword by Robert D. Tollison (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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Our purpose in this chapter is to describe the normative position from which we approach the whole set of issues involving the rules of social order. Through what window do we view the world of social interaction, actual or potential? Until we make ourselves clear in this respect, we may seem to be “speaking in tongues” to those whose perspective differs categorically from our own. Our position is explicitly and avowedly contractarian. This term alone will identify the conceptual framework to those familiar with classical political philosophy, especially with those works that embody the intellectual foundations of liberal society. To counter the most familiar and pervasive criticisms of this position, we must note that the contractarian construction itself is used retrospectively in a metaphorically legitimizing rather than historical sense. Prospectively, the model is used in both a metaphorically evaluative and an empirically corroborative sense.1
The relationship between the contractarian philosophical perspective and the rules-oriented, or constitutionalist, perspective is not so direct as it may at first appear. Section II examines this relationship and briefly discusses possible noncontractarian elements in constitutional thought. The contractarian perspective is grounded in individualistic presuppositions about the ultimate sources of value and of valuation. These precepts are examined in Section III, particularly in contrast to other, more familiar nonindividualistic teleologies. Section IV presents the contractarian paradigm in its most well-known setting, that of ordinary economic exchange. Section V extends the perspective to politics, generally considered. The unanimity requirement is examined in some detail in Section VI. And in Section VII the difference in the choice among rules and choice within rules is related to the unanimity requirement.
[1. ]For other attempts to describe the contractarian position, see James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962); James M. Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty (University of Chicago Press, 1975); James M. Buchanan, Freedom in Constitutional Contract (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1977); and Geoffrey Brennan and James Buchanan, The Power to Tax (Cambridge University Press, 1980).