February 2020

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who wrote this blog post?


Why so snarky?

I picked this up at the ASSA meetings and highly recommend it. Like all LF books, it is beautiful, but the decision to put the Becker/Kirzner debates at the end was excellent.

I agree with Frederic, Kirzner's book is excellent and I also see it as a great exercise in History of Economic Thought. I also read the debate between Kirzner and Becker that some could consider as another illustration that the driving force of the Austrian Economics movement was engage in scholarly debate over key issues in the economic discussion at the time. It is very interesting to read because I almost could argue that Kirzner's position (which, I believe is inspired by Mises's views on the concept of rationality) is a good response to the behavioral economists who have used experiments to challenge the mainstream approach of rationalism. I have pretty much all Kirzner's books but I think I am going to order the collection because I like LFB collections.

I am thinking more and more than Kirzner's theory of entrepreneurship is inconsistent with the view of praxeology Mises explicitly develops. A deductive or axiomatic system (even in words) does not capture the idea of alertness.However, I do think alertness, a non-praxeological idea, is a necessary prerequisite for a praxeological approach to economics. But the two are different.

Somehow in all of this Kirzner seems to have forgotten the role of deduction in praxeology. Insofar as praxeology is different from Robbinsian economizing it is not a deductive system. I see no way around this.

I think if a person reads in quick succession The Economic Point of View and, say, Perception, Opportunity and Profit, this should become clear.


Isn't the answer to your puzzle the very Mises-Hayek synthesis that Kirzner pulls off so that the entrepreneurial perspective is grounded in praxeology but not confined to it? In short, Hayek pushes through Mises's rhetoric while retaining the argumentative structure.

See "Economics and Knowledge" --- where he argues that the pure logic of choice is a necessary, but not sufficient component to understanding the market process. The problem that Kirzner runs into, then, is not being sufficiently Hayekian in the essay in Perception, Opportunity and Profit where he tries to counter Hayek's 1937 paper. But I think that is because Kirzner thought it was an either/or choice between Mises or Hayek. I don't think it was --- Hayek admits that Mises's pure logic of choice is necessary, but it is not sufficient. The pure logic must be complemented with institutional analysis.

Yes, as Kirzner argues we are alert to that which is in our interest to be alert to, but what is in our interest to be alert to is a consequence of institutional context.

In short, I don't think someone reading The Economic Point of View and Perception, Opportunity and Profit should see incoherence, but instead an exciting research program with open ended questions on the nature of human action and the entrepreneurial market process. In fact, what they will read is a rigorous and thoughtful mind grappling with the tough questions of price theory and our understanding of the market system.


Any indication on a timeline for the rest?

Backtrack feature doesn't seem to be working.


Boy! What have I done? What luck!

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