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This chapter conceptualizes the Kirznerian entrepreneur as performing a unique and crucial role of driving an open-ended market process. Entrepreneurial alertness is a theoretical concept that occurs prior to choice and consists of changing perceptions of prices and real resource constraints. This chapter emphasizes the role of subjective perception in both arbitraging and innovative entrepreneurship and develops a simple matrix to synthesize these dual roles. This unique epistemic position in the market process qualifies both the arbitraging and innovative entrepreneur as capable of performing functions that are nonreplicable by experts outside the system.
This volume contains papers given at the third biennial Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies Conference on Austrian Economics. The conference was held…
This volume contains papers given at the third biennial Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies Conference on Austrian Economics. The conference was held at a beautiful waterfront facility of Simon Fraser University on October 15 and 16, 2010. In spite of all warnings to expect fog and rain in the Pacific Northwest, the weather was sunny and mild, as were the spirits of the conferees. Our topic title, “Austrian Views on Experts and Epistemic Monopolies,” was perhaps a bit misleading because some of the views represented were not “Austrian.” Indeed, the editorial mission of Advances in Austrian Economics has been to promote dialogue between the “Austrian” tradition of economics and other traditions both within in economics and beyond. Participants discussed the problem of experts from several Austrian and non-Austrian perspectives. While representing different points of view, the participants did tend toward the view that experts may pose a problem in one way or another, especially when they enjoy an epistemic monopoly.
The Austrian School of Economics, pioneered in the late nineteenth century by Menger and developed in the twentieth century by Mises and Hayek, is poised to make significant contributions to the methodology, analytics, and social philosophy of economics and political economy in the twenty-first century. But it can only do so if its practitioners accept responsibility to pursue the approach to its logical conclusions with confidence and absence of fear, and with an attitude of open inquiry, acceptance of their own fallibility, and a desire to track truth and offer social understanding. The reason the Austrian school is so well positioned to do this is because (1) it embraces its role as a human science, (2) it does not shy away from public engagement, (3) it takes a humble stance, (4) it seeks to be practical, and (5) there remains so much evolutionary potential to the ideas at the methodological, analytical, and social philosophical level that would challenge the conventional wisdom in economics, political science, sociology, history, law, business, and philosophy. The author explores these five tenants of Austrian economics as a response to the comments on his lead chapter “What Is Still Wrong with the Austrian School of Economics?”
F. A. Hayek's contribution to economic science is broadly remembered as relating to the “use of knowledge in society” but his contribution to economics of knowledge are…
F. A. Hayek's contribution to economic science is broadly remembered as relating to the “use of knowledge in society” but his contribution to economics of knowledge are often summarized differently. We emphasize the contextual nature of the knowledge. Hayek says the market economy is capable of eliciting and utilizing in the process of coordinating economic activities. There is, however, a double meaning of context that we explore. Hayek developed his argument about the use of knowledge in the context of the socialist calculation debate, and the aspect of knowledge he came to focus on was the contextual nature of knowledge in human action in markets, politics, law, and society. This paper traces out the development of Hayek's focus on the epistemic foundations of the complex coordination in an advanced market economy and shows that his critique of classical and market socialism led to a refined, subtle approach to understanding spontaneous order. Furthermore, it is precisely Hayek's focus on the role of institutions in creating the conditions for the utilization and transference of knowledge through the price system that continues to shape the progressive research programs in economic science and public policy analysis that is his legacy.