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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5571/kleins-judgment-on-kirzners-alertness/

Klein’s Judgment on Kirzner’s Alertness

September 6, 2006 by

I’ve noted previously disagreement with various aspects of Hayek’s knowledge problem (Knowledge vs. Calculation) and other Hayekian terms (such as “spontaneous”, see p. 68 of Knowledge, Calculation, Conflict, and Law)–terms that make my praxeological trigger finger itchy, so to speak. I’ve also long been skeptical of the Kirznerian idea of “entrepreneurial alertness”–entrepreneurs are not passive actors trying to be alert to profit opportunities; instead, they are active actors who make judgments with their property (see on this Hülsmann, Knowledge, Judgment, and the Use of Property and Salerno, Mises and Hayek Dehomogenized). (For discussio of related issues, see also Jeff Tucker’s post Kirzner on Knowledge vs. Information.)

Peter Klein offers some more perceptive comments on this topic in his post Judgment versus Alertness on the Organizations and Markets blog (Klein also wrote one of my favorite Austrian articles, Economic Calculation and the Limits of Organization). Check it out.


L.R. September 6, 2006 at 1:57 pm

Is it possible this is just a matter of semantics? I don’t think Kirzner expects that just because an investor notices a profit opportunity, money spontaneously appears in his pocket. Maybe “entrepreneurial alertness” subsumes action (thus differentiating it from everyday alertness–e.g., I might be alert to a bird flying by, but I might not take a single action in response, not even following it with my eyes.); it is the type of alertness displayed by an entrepeneur in his role as an entrepeneur, and since people can’t read minds, this must include acting on his knowledge. Also, the American Heritage Dictionary, for its third definition of “alert,” lists “Brisk or lively in action” (emph. added).

See also the last three sentences of https://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=286&sortorder=issue.

L.R. September 6, 2006 at 2:09 pm

That is, the last three paragraphs.

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