December, 2003

Praxeology, Entrepreneurship, and the Market Process

A Review of Kirzner's Contribution
  • Keith Jakee

    Associate Professor of Economics, Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University
  • Heath Spong

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It is surely Israel M. Kirzner who has promoted the role of the entrepreneur more than any other author in the second half of the twentieth century. His description of the market process and entrepreneurship in his Competition and the Market Process (1973) represents a seminal contribution to Austrian thinking, although it has been slow to catch on in broader circles. As Humberto Barreto argues above, for example, an entrepreneurial role seems to have disappeared from mainstream economics as the theory of the firm progressed (1989, pp. 95–98). The standard core of microeconomics allows little room for entrepreneurial elements, particularly if the latter are defined in terms of uncertainty, intuition, ignorance, and disequilibrium. In light of this intellectual discord and given his recent retirement, it is timely to reconsider Kirzner's unceasing efforts to resurrect the role of the entrepreneur, and especially his effort to reconcile this role with conventional neoclassical approaches.

It is surely Israel M. Kirzner who has promoted the role of the entrepreneur more than any other author in the second half of the twentieth century. His description of the market process and entrepreneurship in his Competition and the Market Process (1973) represents a seminal contribution to Austrian thinking, although it has been slow to catch on in broader circles. As Humberto Barreto argues above, for example, an entrepreneurial role seems to have disappeared from mainstream economics as the theory of the firm progressed (1989, pp. 95–98). The standard core of microeconomics allows little room for entrepreneurial elements, particularly if the latter are defined in terms of uncertainty, intuition, ignorance, and disequilibrium. In light of this intellectual discord and given his recent retirement, it is timely to reconsider Kirzner's unceasing efforts to resurrect the role of the entrepreneur, and especially his effort to reconcile this role with conventional neoclassical approaches.

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