James L. Payne

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James L. Payne
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Born (1939-06-17) June 17, 1939 (age 84)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • B.A.
  • M.A.
  • Ph.D.
Alma mater
  • Oberlin College
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Economist
  • Scientist

James L. Payne (born 1939) is an American social scientist writing on political science, economics, social science methodology, foreign policy, and political philosophy. After teaching political science at the university level for 20 years, he left academia to conduct research and writing as an independent scholar.[1]


After obtaining his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1962, Payne went on to study political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his M.A. in 1963, and his Ph.D. in 1967.

Academic career

From 1973 to 1987, Payne taught political science at Texas A&M University. He has also held teaching positions at Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Johns Hopkins University.[2] From 1986 to 1988, Payne held the position of visiting scholar at Bowling Green State University, and in 1996 he was named a Bradley Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C..[3][4]

In 1985, Payne retired from academic tenure to study independently as the Director of Lytton Research and Analysis in Sandpoint, Idaho. He currently holds this position.[1]

Research and views

Payne is critical of the efficacy of government programs. Pointing to numerous cases of government failure, Payne questions why so many Americans so firmly believe their government capable of solving a wide variety of economic and social problems.[5]

Payne has also documented the reduction in violent force throughout history. In his 2004 book, A History of Force, Payne argues that the global reduction in violence is due to increased economic prosperity, as well as improved communication and access to information.[6] Payne also argues that since government relies on the use of force, the reduction in force corresponds to a growing irreverence for government institutions and politicians.[6]



  • The Motivation of Politicians (1984)
  • Why Nations Arm (1989)
  • Princess Navina Visits Malvolia (1990)
  • Princess Navina Visits Mandaat (1994)
  • Six Political Illusions; A Primer on Government for Idealists Fed Up with History Repeating Itself (2010)
  • Take Me to Your Government; Four Fables (2013)
  • The Big Governement We Love to Hate (Forthcoming 2021)


  • “The Real Case against Activist Global Warming Policy,” The Independent Review (Fall 2014)
  • “What FDR Knew about Welfare Policy,” The Wall Street Journal (May 19, 2016)
  • “The Government Nobody Knows—Nor Wants to Know,” The Independent Review (Winter, 2018)

In the media


  1. 1.0 1.1 Payne, James. "About the Author". sixpoliticalillusions.com. Lytton Publishing Company. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  2. "James L. Payne". independent.org. INDEPENDENT INSTITUTE. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  3. "James L. Payne". Amazon.com. Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  4. Ellen, Reese (2005). Backlash Against Welfare Mothers: Past and Present. University of California Press. p. 162. ISBN 9780520244627.
  5. Peterson, William. "Book Review: The Culture Of Spending: Why Congress Lives Beyond Our Means by James L. Payne". fee.org. Foundation for Economic Eduction. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Shaffer, Butler. "Book Review: A History of Force Exploring the Worldwide Movement Against Habits of Coercion, Bloodshed, and Mayhem". independent.org. The Independent Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

External links

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