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.
Payne has taught political science at Texas A&M University, as well as at Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Johns Hopkins University. 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..
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.
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. 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.