About Count Nef (a.k.a. Author James Payne)

illustration of Count Nef's diary

James L. Payne (Count Nef) has taught political science at Yale, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, and Texas A&M, and is the author of books on Latin America, foreign policy, social science methodology, political motivation, Congress, taxation, welfare, and the history of force. His latest books are Six Political Illusions (2010) and Discovering England (2012). He makes his home in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Extended Biographical Information and Books

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James L. Payne earned his doctorate in political science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1968, and has taught at Yale, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, and Texas A&M University. In 1985 he became an independent researcher and free lance writer and moved to Sandpoint, Idaho. He is the author of 21 books, including works on Latin American politics, social science methodology, defense policy, and the motivation of politicians. His recent books include a study of why Congress keeps increasing spending (The Culture of Spending), and an examination of the burdens of the tax system (Costly Returns). His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Reader’s Digest, Fortune, Policy Review, Public Interest, and many other publications.

In 1996 he was awarded a Bradley Fellowship at the Heritage Foundation to study the welfare system. The resulting book, Overcoming Welfare; Expecting More from the Poor--and from Ourselves, was published by Basic Books in June 1998. He has edited a volume of writings by 19th-century social worker Octavia Hill, The Befriending Leader; Social Assistance without Dependency (Lytton, 1997).

In 2004 he published A History of Force; Exploring the worldwide movement against habits of coercion, bloodshed, and mayhem. Covering dozens of coercive practices, including war, homicide, capital punishment, and taxation, the book finds a broad historical trend against force.

In 2010 he published Six Political Illusions, a primer on government that explains the fallacies that lead to big government: www.sixpoliticalillusions.com.

Payne is also an avid sea kayaker and has written two books about his long-distance adventures: One Inch above the Water; Running away on America’s Rivers: www.OneInchAboveTheWater.com and Discovering England from One Inch above the Thames: www.discovering-england.com