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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
In this, the introduction to the Italian edition of Cost and Choice by James M. Buchanan, the author identifies the distinction between objective opportunity costs, which lead to choices, and the costs which such choices create for the chooser and other players, as a fundamental breakthrough in Buchanan's theory. There is ample scope for the application of the concept of subjective cost in external diseconomies: in pollution control, for example, but also in analysis of the civil service and collectivist economy in relation to the market economy. A further illuminating example of the conceptual tools developed by Buchanan is in public debt. It is demonstrated that to fall into debt is easy, precisely because the cost which the choice of indebtedness entails weighs on future generations, hence on players other than those who assess the opportunity cost of indebtedness itself.