skip to content

Ron Manners’ ideas
and adventures
Read More

The good news is that an accredited Public Choice Theory course will be available from The University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle for students and interested members of the public. This is a great step forward in solving the following mysteries of political economics:

  1. How do bad policies come into being?
  2. How do, quite often, the worst people rise to the top jobs?
  3. Why two sets of rules exist — one for the public, the other for political and corporate elites.

These conundrums often give democracy a bad name for many emerging nations casting around for national role models as they take steps to move away from socialism or dictatorship (often hard to separate).

There are many definitions of Public Choice and Politics; I like Thomas Sowell’s the best — Politics is the art of making your selfish desires seem like the national interest.

Public Choice Theory, when stripped to its bare bones, simply says that, “those few who receive the concentrated benefits, will work hardest to support legislation that will benefit them and in their own interest they will design such legislation (rules & laws) so that costs will be distributed over many thousands or millions of victims.”

By spreading the costs, over so many, these victims will just stop short of ‘marching in the streets’. This is the way, through sinister stealth, that we see so much looting and plundering of the public, without a whimper. Studying Public Choice Theory enables you to ‘follow the money’ and solve these daily mysteries.

Those two sets of rules that resulted in our ‘two-class system’ where public servants, politicians and corporate elites have declared themselves ‘unsackable’ whilst the rest of us have to perform well to retain our jobs.

This challenge of curbing political corruption has exercised the minds of economists for over 400 years, since the early School of Salamanca here.

Lus de Molina (1535-1601) suggested that if the king grants a monopoly privilege to some, he violates the consumer’s right to buy from the cheapest seller.  Molina concluded that those who benefit are required, by moral law, to offset the damages that they cause. How would this appeal to our public servants or politicians who repeatedly bring projects on at twice and even four times the original budgeted cost?

Thoughts for you to contemplate as you consider signing up for Notre Dame’s course in Public Choice Theory!

Further information available:

Prof. Werner Soontiens – (Dean: School of Business – UNDA)



















  • Wonderful to hear that a unit in Public Choice will be offered at UND. I taught units in Public Finance at Curtin University for three decades – at undergraduate, honours and Masters level – and I always included a week or two on topics in the area of public choice. So much has been written on Public Choice since the publication of Buchanan and Tulloch’s 1962 book that there is more than enough material and important topics to cover in a one semester unit.

Leave a Reply