One passage I found particularly interesting, and summarizes his thoughts nicely, was his discussion about the name "economics". Buchanan writes,
"Were it possible to wipe the slate clean [change the name economics to something else], I should recommend . . . "symbiotics" . . . Symbiotics is defined as the study of association between dissimilar organisms, and the connotation of the term is that the association is mutually beneficial to all parties. This conveys more or less precisely the idea that should be central to our discipline. It draws attention to a unique sort of relationship that which involves the cooperative association of individuals, one with another, even when the individual interests are different."
This is not esoteric economics but matters in the following sense. If we are a science that focuses on outcomes without much regard for the process in which outcomes happen we will be less attuned to opportunity costs and unintended consequences, two things we profess to teach our students (and on this blog we have professed could help make the world a better place). More to come.