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Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation

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  • Klein, Daniel

    (George Mason University)

Abstract

Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek saw the liberty principle as focal and accorded it strong presumption. But their wisdom invokes how little we can know. In Knowledge and Coordination, Daniel Klein re-examines the elements of economic liberalism. He interprets Hayek's notion of spontaneous order from the aestheticized perspective of a Smithian spectator, real or imagined. Klein addresses issues economists have had surrounding the notion of coordination by distinguishing the concatenate coordination of Hayek, Ronald Coase, and Michael Polanyi from the mutual coordination of Thomas Schelling and game theory. Clarifying the meaning of cooperation, he resolves debates over whether entrepreneurial innovation enhances or upsets coordination, and thus interprets entrepreneurship in terms of discovery, or new knowledge. Beyond information, knowledge entails interpretation and judgment, emergent from tacit reaches of the "society of mind," itself embedded in actual society. Rejecting homo economicus in favor of the "deepself," Klein offers a distinctive formulation of knowledge economics, entailing asymmetric interpretation, judgment, entrepreneurship, error, and correction-and kinds of discovery-which all serve the cause of liberty. This richness of knowledge joins agent and analyst, and meaningful theory depends on tacit affinities between the two. Knowledge and Coordination highlights the recurring connections to underlying purposes and sensibilities, of analysts as well as agents. Behind economic talk of market communication and social error and correction lies Klein's Smithian allegory, with the allegorical spectator representing a conception of the social. Knowledge and Coordination instructs us to declare such allegory. Knowledge and Coordination is an authoritative take on how, by confessing the looseness of its judgments and the by-and-large status of its claims, laissez-faire liberalism makes its economic doctrines more robust and its presumption of liberty more viable.

Suggested Citation

  • Klein, Daniel, 2012. "Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199794126.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199794126
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    Cited by:

    1. Marek Hudík, 2015. "A preference change or a perception change? A comment on Dietrich and List," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 44(2), pages 425-431, May.
    2. Daniel B. Klein, 2014. "Does Economics Need an Infusion of Religious or Quasi-Religious Formulations? A Symposium Prologue," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 11(2), pages 97-105, May.
    3. Anthony J. Evans & Vlad Tarko, 2014. "Contemporary Work in Austrian Economics," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 29(Fall 2014), pages 135-157.
    4. Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, 2016. "“Adam Smith did Humanomics: So Should We”," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 503-513, September.
    5. David Lipka, 2013. "The Max U Approach: Prudence Only, or Not Even Prudence? A Smithian Perspective," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 10(1), pages 2-14, January.
    6. Paul D. Mueller, 2014. "Adam Smith, Politics, and Natural Liberty," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 29(Fall 2014), pages 119-134.
    7. James Caton, 2017. "Entrepreneurship, search costs, and ecological rationality in an agent-based economy," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 107-130, March.
    8. Peter Lewin, 2016. "Plan-coordination: Who needs it?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 299-313, September.
    9. Daniel B. Klein & William L. Davis & Bob G. Figgins & David Hedengren, 2012. "Characteristics of the Members of Twelve Economic Associations: Voting, Policy Views, and Favorite Economists," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(2), pages 149-162, May.
    10. repec:ejw:journl:v:12:y:2015:i:2:p:114-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Daniel B. Klein & Benjamin Powell & Evgeny S. Vorotnikov, 2012. "Was Occupational Licensing Good for Minorities? A Critique of Marc Law and Mindy Marks," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 210-233, September.

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