The Buchanan Mandate approaches governance with an eye towards latent incentives in the design and administration of said governance. Put another way, this Mandate is focused on a meta-analysis of governance structure that aims to increase the usable space for individualized decision-making while eschewing initiatives that may bloat or corrupt the governance environment. The Mandate is less concerned with catering to a protocol’s different constituent interests, preferring to jealously guard the underlying protocol structure in order to protect each individual’s ability to freely operate and transact within it. In a protocol modeled around the Buchanan Mandate, governance 1) requires little technocratic benevolence, 2) limits regulatory and protocol capture and 3) privileges individual autonomy within the system.

There are four key themes that serve both as pillars of the Buchanan mandate governance as well as inform the decision making process.

Emergent choice

Buchanan’s Public Choice Theory asserts that an individual’s choices hold the ultimate explanatory power for how an economy functions. Within this framework, Buchanan focused on enlarging the whitespace for those choices, while researching the limited structures and frameworks that should be built around these behaviors to best empower the individual. With the Emergent Choice theme, the Buchanan Mandate voices a position informed by the way individuals are using the platform in actuality, rather than dictating how a platform “should” be used.

Process architecture

In advancing the research and understanding of constitutional economics, Buchanan reintroduced the concept of political economy. In modern times, the disciplines of politics and economics had been seen as separate concerns. Inspired by the Swedish economist Wicksell, Buchanan internalized the notion that politicians - just like any other party - will act in their own self-interest. Therefore, to cultivate a dynamic political economy, a protocol must improve the rules and structures incentivizing its politicians. The Buchanan Mandate emphasizes the alignment of incentives and a specific focus on the meta-structure of underlying protocols. Finally, the Process Architecture theme seeks to maximize the area for individual choice and limit the space for political rent-seeking.

Automated preference

Buchanan posited that, due to the unconstrained growth of government over time, a meaningful amount of discretionary power is held by civil functionaries instead of elected officials. According to Buchanan, these unelected bureaucrats can manipulate priorities, siphon funds improperly, and pressure rulemakers for budgets favorable to their own interests. The Buchanan Mandate advocates for any framework that grants as little discretion as possible to those in unelected positions of power. Individuals or properly elected officials should hold all decision-making power, while limiting the influence of administrative and bureaucratic roles to the extent possible.

Limited scope

Buchanan spent much of his career studying the economics of logrolling. Logrolling, or “horse trading”, is the act of exchanging favors in order to enact one’s own legislative priorities. Buchanan’s work explored the phenomenon of distributive logging, where policymakers trade favors to pass legislation that includes “pork barrel” spending for their constituents. Buchanan largely saw this spending as wasteful and inefficient. For this reason, the Buchanan Mandate seeks to limit the scope of any governance action to its explicitly stated purpose.


Paul Samuelson’s work revolved around the application of the principles of data analysis, the assessment of cost-benefit tradeoffs, and the evaluation of stakeholders’ wants and needs. According to Samuelson, different people need different things at different times and rigid policy does not serve the larger good. As such, the foundation of the Samuelson Mandate is a philosophy of practical and applied governance. It is technocratic and data-driven. Rather than privileging philosophical sacred cows, the Mandate focuses on maintaining a functional balance between the interests of all stakeholders.

There are four key themes that serve both as pillars of the Samuelson mandate governance as well as inform the decision making process.

Stakeholder equilibrium

Samuelson was one of the first economists in the field to study the relationship between different types of stakeholders, as well as the stakeholders’ respective utility curves. Under the premise that all actors are looking to maximize something, Samuelson understood that each stakeholder or constituent in a system would define that “something” differently, thus informing their behavior. Recognizing that a diverse set of stakeholders uses a protocol for a diverse set of purposes, the Samuelson Mandate seeks to create a broad-based political and governance consortium friendly to all types of users.

Public investment

Neoclassical economics had historically viewed every market problem - or “dislocation” - as one that would return to equilibrium over time. Samuelson, who completed his PhD and became an assistant professor in the midst of the Great Depression, saw first hand that this was not always the case. Markets, like the societies they sprang from, could experience prolonged, painful periods of dislocation with no clear solution. Simply put, real world markets do not exist in a vacuum. According to Samuelson, public goods are an essential part of the economic conversation. And, in an economy where there is significant public equity (common goods), private market solutions may not bring the system back to equilibrium. An efficient allocation of resources requires a contribution to public goods. This principle will steer the Samuelson Mandate towards investments in the maintenance and development of communities and protocols.

Multigenerational framework

Samuelson’s work on the Overlapping Generations Model - which sought to take a more long term view on macroeconomic growth - is the basis for the Multigenerational Framework theme. An effective investment may not justify itself immediately. In fact, the efficiency of an economic system that is making its most productive investments may not be readily apparent as human and social capital may not be immediately productive. In the context of the Samuelson Mandate, the multigenerational framework theme will involve evaluating proposals with an eye to where the protocol is situated in the network lifecycle.

Quantitative analysis

Samuelson ushered in the era of quantitative analysis in economics, pioneering the synthesis between mathematics and economics. A numbers-oriented economist from the very beginning, he sought to apply quantitative analysis and mathematical theorems to different economic phenomena. While careful to root his hypotheses in first principles thinking and humane logic, Samuelson was nevertheless focused on finding mathematical proofs in human realms. Where possible, the Samuelson Mandate will emphasize the role of data and mathematical logic in its decision-making process.