H/T to Steve Horwitz who has provided the introduction to FEE’s newly released ebook of Kirzner lectures/essays from various FEE events and publications.
For Kirzner and the Austrians, however, the assumption of perfect knowledge heads economists off on a trail that is an intellectual dead-end. The real world of the market is one in which knowledge is dispersed, contextual, and often inarticulate. From its origins in the work of Carl Menger, through its development in Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, the Austrian school has focused on how markets coordinate human action given that such action is always taken in a world of uncertainty and fragmentary knowledge. Different thinkers have refined different aspects of this perspective, but all have recognized the basic problem situation of action under uncertainty and tried to explain how market institutions enable us to overcome it. This is what Kirzner does in his elaboration of the basics of supply and demand and the market process, focusing on his own distinct contribution concerning the role of the entrepreneur.