A conversation with Israel Kirzner

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Israel Kirzner, Tibor R. Machan
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Content
  • Beginning of the conversation
  • How do you explain the fact that economics still has competing schools?
  • Can you provide an example of how decision making influences future decisions?
  • Recent Austrian economists
  • Who are other mainstream Austrian economists?
  • In economics there has been an exceeding progress in the direction of mathematical modelling, has it been entirely misguided from the point of view of the Austrian school?
  • Which are your thoughts about George Stigler's remark about the effect that in economics, people tend to turn to the conservative side of the political spectrum?
  • Final considerations
  • Final words
  • Final credits
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About this video
About the author
Selected quotes
Questions
External links

Israel Kirzner, during this interview with Tibor R. Machan, shares his experience as a student of Ludwig von Mises, his career as a professor of economics at New York University, and his knowledge of the Austrian school of economics, elaborating on its central tenets as a combination of ideas and insights which have evolved since its constitution, leading to a new area of economic science. Kirzner also talks about the theories of human action and decision making, which operate in the market, and shares Ludwig von Mises ideas, as well.

He also talks about the new appraisal to quality competition described in his book Competition and Entrepreneurship, where he comments on the differences between the mainstream competition and the human action competition models and stands out that in the first model, there is no room for the entrepreneur because it claims a market with freedom of entry and lack of privileges of any kind which is not how it works in the real world. He concludes commenting on the debate between those who understand the law of economics and those who deny it.



 
 
 



Credits

A conversation with Israel Kirzner
Israel Kirzner, Tibor R. Machan

Liberty Fund: The Intellectual Portrail Series
Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000

Thanks to Liberty Fund Inc. for permission to distribute this program. For further information about rights to this program or others produced by Liberty Fund Inc. go to The Intellectual Portrait Series and Copyright and Fair Use policy. 

Digitized by New Media - UFM. Guatemala, August 2013
Conversion and publication: Diego Chajón; index and synopsis: Ethel Castro; content reviser: Sofía Díaz

Selected quotes, questions and external links: Amy M. Willis, Liberty Fund Fellow


Imagen: cc.jpgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 License
Este trabajo ha sido registrado con una licencia Creative Commons 3.0

Israel Kirzner

Israel Kirzner

Israel Kirzner is a leading economist of the Austrian School of Economics. He is professor emeritus of economics at New York University and author of numerous publications, including "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach;" The Meaning of Market Process; Discovery, Capitalism and Distributive Justice; The Economic Point of View; and Competition and Entrepreneurship. Kirzner graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA from Brooklyn College. He has an MBA and a PhD from New York University.

Source: en.wikipedia.org
Last update: 05/12/2007

Selected Quotes from Israel Kirzner:

"What competition really means is the freedom of any entrepreneur to enter."

"The great debate in the history of economics has been between those who understand the nature of economic 'law' and the deniers of economic law."

The Central Tenets of Austrian Economics


Why does Kirzner insist that it is important to regard Austrian economics as a tradition?

Kirzner claims subjectivism as the most important insight of the Austrian school. What do Austrian economists mean by subjectivism, and how does this differ from the perspective of mainstream economics?

How does the tenet of purposefulness differentiate the way individual behavior is viewed from the paradigm of maximization?

What is the place of ignorance in Austrian economic theory?

How does the Austrian perspective on time differ from the mainstream?


On Competition and Entrepreneurship


Contrast the Robbinsian view of decision-making to the Misesian. What elements of Robbins' decisionmaking framework maintain some importance in Mises'?

Why is it easier to make predictions utilizing a Robbinsian framework rather than an Austrian one?

Which do you find to be a more realistic description of the decision-making process, and why?


The Relationship Between Competition and Entrepreneurship


What does Kirzner see as the greatest flaw of the model of perfect competition, and why is it so problematic?

What does Kirzner means when he says, "Human beings notice that which it is to their benefit to notice?" How can this be reconciled with the tenet of ignorance?


The Socialist Calculation Debate


Kirzner says that Mises argued that economic calculation under socialism was impossible, not that socialism is impossible. How can this be true?

Kirzner references Lerner, suggesting that Marxism is the economics of capitalism and price theory is the economics of socialism. What does he mean by this, and to what extent do you agree?


Implications of Competition and Entrepreneurship for Public Policy


Kirzner points to anti-trust policy as an important area of application. He also says that no matter how well-meaning anti-trust policies are, they are based on a faulty understanding of the nature of competition. What is the nature of this misunderstanding?

Kirzner argues that J.A. Schumpeter can be considered part of the Austrian school, at least as far as his analysis of anti-trust policy is concerned. Do you agree that Schumpeter's analysis, as described by Kirzner, can be considered Austrian?


Influential Modern-Day Austrian Economists


Which modern-day Austrians does Kirzner consider to be influential, and for what reasons? Are there any you believe he left out?

How does Kirzner characterize the relationship between Austrian economics and mathematics? Is mathematics a help or hindrance to Austrian economic analysis?


Economists' Tendency Toward Conservatism


Kirzner and Machan reference a Stiglitz paper which suggests that most economists are of a conservative political bent. What does Kirzner think of this claim?

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