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Knowledge Flat-talk: A Conceit of Supposed Experts and a Seduction to All


  • Klein, Daniel B.

    () (The Ratio Institute)


Articulate knowledge entails the triad: information, interpretation, and judgment. Information is the reading of the facts through a working interpretation. Much of modern political economy has miscarried by discoursing as though interpretation were symmetric and final. This move has the effect of flattening knowledge down to information – here dubbed “knowledge flat-talk.” Economic prosperity depends greatly on discovery, but discovery is often a transcending of the working interpretation, not merely the acquisition of new information. Models typically assume that the modeler’s working interpretation is common knowledge. But often the sets of relevant knowledge of the relevant actors do not approximate the common knowledge assumption. We need better understanding and appreciation of asymmetric interpretation and its dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Klein, Daniel B., 2009. "Knowledge Flat-talk: A Conceit of Supposed Experts and a Seduction to All," Ratio Working Papers 140, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0140
    Note: Published in The Independent Review

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    2. Bryan Caplan, 2005. "From Friedman to Wittman: The Transformation of Chicago Political Economy," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Lipka, 2012. "The Max U Approach: Prudence-only, or Not Even Prudence? A Smithian Perspective," ICER Working Papers 09-2012, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    knowledge; information; interpretation; judgment; common knowledge;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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