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The Economic Point of View

The Economic Point of View: Peter J. Boettke, Israel M. Kirzner, Frédéric Sautet

The Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner

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Autor(en) Israel M. Kirzner Verlag Liberty Fund, Inc.
Herausgeber Peter J. Boettke, Frédéric Sautet
Sachgebiet(e) Österreichische Schule, English Books ISBN 978-0-86597-734-1
2009, 272 Seiten, Taschenbuch

The Economic Point of View is the inaugural volume in Liberty Fund’s new Collected Works of Israel M. Kirzner series. This work 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.

In The Economic Point of View, Kirzner explores the basic ideas around which the entire body of economic thought has revolved for some two centuries. He explains how the “economic point of view” emerged in the development of economic science since the eighteenth century and through it, the concepts of purpose, subjectivism, and rationality. Kirzner’s incomparable ability to navigate through the core ideas of economics helps the reader become progressively familiar with the history of the discipline and its definition.

Within the seven chapters, Kirzner discusses such subjects as the science of wealth and welfare; the nature of economic science and the significance of macroeconomics; and the sciences as human action, including a section on praxeology and its relationship to the economic point of view. As Mises writes in his foreword to the volume, “Dr. Kirzner’s book . . . is a very valuable contribution to the history of ideas, describing the march of economics from a science of wealth to a science of human action. . . .  Every economist—and for that matter everybody interested in problems of general epistemology—will read with great profit Doctor Kirzner’s analyses.”


Praise for the Previous Edition

...The Economic Point of View can be recommended both to the specialist and to those intrepid amateurs who are willing to struggle with its style and its numerous references to the literature in the field. It is probably the best single reference book now available on the history of the discussion of what constitutes "the eco­nomic point of view." Kirzner traces the discussion from ap­proximately the time of Adam Smith, when economics was thought to be a wealth-centered study, through the period when it was thought to be centered on man in his wealth­-getting activities, to the more modern definitions of eco­nomics as a science of human action (the praxeological view of economics, associated particularly with the name of Pro­fessor Mises).

Those who are tempted to ask, "What difference does it make how economics is defined?", would do well to read this book and find out. For example, the early definitions of eco­nomics in terms of wealth-getting were partly responsible for the low repute of the science. Its concern seemed to be only with the "vulgar" activities of man or when he was operating at his worst. The praxeological view, in which economics is viewed as the study of man in the process of making rational choices among alternatives, relieves economics of much of the stigma that was once attached to it for definitional reasons alone. This is a reference book that every economist, profes­sional or amateur, should have on his shelf—after reading.

National Book Foundation
February 15, 1962

Source: Liberty Fund, Inc.

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