Israel Kirzner is among the foremost scholars in the continuing development of the Austrian School of economic theory. His works comprise such classics in the field as The Economic Point of View (1960), Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973), Perception, Opportunity, and Profit (1979), and The Meaning of Market Process (1992). In each he has extended our understanding of the workings of a free society, illuminated the role of entrepreneurs in the process of economic discovery, and shed new light on the dynamics of market forces. Of particular interest is his keen understanding of the differences between the Austrian School and the reigning neoclassical paradigm, and how Austrian economics affords new and exciting avenues for future work. In this interview, Professor Kirzner explores these subject areas, as well as his experiences as a student of the renowned teacher and scholar Ludwig von Mises, his interaction with such Austrian greats as Friedrich von Hayek, and his career as a professor of economics at New York University.
No other economist in recent times has been so closely identified with the Austrian School of economics as Israel M. Kirzner, professor emeritus of economics at New York University. A leader of the generation of Austrian economists after Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, Kirzner has been recognized as one of the minds behind the revival of entrepreneurship and market process theory in the twentieth century.
The inaugural volume in Liberty Fund’s new Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner series established Kirzner as a careful and meticulous scholar of economics. No other living economist is so closely associated with the Austrian school of economics as Israel M. Kirzner, Professor Emeritus of Economics at New York University. He has been a leader of the generation of Austrian school economists following Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek.
Essays on Capital and Interest presents a collection of writings on capital theory that serve both as a discourse in the history of economic thought and as conceptual clarification in one of the most complex subjects in economics.
Austrian Subjectivism and the Emergence of Entrepreneurship Theory comprises several of Kirzner’s previously published papers on the subjects of methodological subjectivism and the history of entrepreneurship theory—topics of primary importance in Kirzner’s economic thought because one cannot fully understand entrepreneurship theory without considering subjectivism.
Ludwig von Mises: The Man and His Economics is a collection of Israel M. Kirzner’s work regarding his mentor, including a monograph on Mises and his work as well as several articles detailing how he impacted the world of economics.
The Essence of Entrepreneurship and the Nature and Significance of Market Process is a continuation of the discourse started in Kirzner’s earlier work, Competition and Entrepreneurship, expanding upon his ideas about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial alertness. Essence presents most of the detailed research Kirzner has done on the nature of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial process in the decades following the publication of his magnum opus. It is during that long period that Kirzner elaborated his approach further, responding to objections and critics, and offering the world a more systematic understanding of the concept of market process.
Discovery, Capitalism, and Distributive Justice makes Kirzner’s case for the idea that entrepreneurial profit is both essential for an economy and profoundly just. Asserting that the problem with standard criticism of capitalist income distribution is a failure to see capitalism as a “discovery procedure,” Kirzner argues that production and subsequent profit are neither automatic nor guaranteed.
Reflections on Ethics, Freedom, Welfare Economics, Policy, and the Legacy of Austrian Economics comprises a variety of Kirzner’s essays on social thought. Kirzner’s intellectual interest and theories go beyond market process and entrepreneurship: they encompass several important topics that are vital to the existence of human societies.
The second volume in Liberty Fund’s Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner series, Market Theory and the Price System was published in 1963 as Kirzner’s first (and only) textbook. This volume presents an integrated view of Austrian price theory. The basic aim of Market Theory is to utilize the tools of economic reasoning to explain the market process. The unique framework Kirzner develops for microeconomic analysis, following Mises and Hayek, examines errors in decision-making, entrepreneurial profit, and competition as a process of discovery and learning.
Competition and Entrepreneurship defines Israel M. Kirzner’s unique contribution to the economics profession. Pointing out the shortcomings of the traditional microeconomic model, Kirzner offers an alternative and complementary view, which illuminates and enriches the way economists think of the market process. Kirzner develops a theory of the market process that focuses on the role of the pure entrepreneurial element in human action.