Portrait of Bruno Leoni

Bruno Leoni argues that expressing one’s economic choice as a consumer in a free market is quite different from making a political choice by means of voting (1961)

Found in: Freedom and the Law (LF ed.)

The Italian legal philospher Bruno Leoni in a lecture entitled "Voting versus the Market" noticed a key difference bewteen the choices made by individuals in the free market and choices made by those same individuals in voting for candidates for political office:

Parties & Elections

We have seen in the preceding lecture that notwithstanding many similarities that may exist between voters on the one hand and market operators on the other, the actions of the two are far from actually being similar. No procedural rule seems able to allow voters to act in the same flexible, independent, consistent, and efficient way as operators employing individual choice in the market. While it is true that both voting and operating in the market are individual actions, we are compelled, however, to conclude that voting is a kind of individual action that almost inevitably undergoes a kind of distortion in its use.