Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation

Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation

by Daniel B. Klein
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best book on Smithian economics, or for that matter Austrian economics, in many years."—Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist and Create Your Own Economy

"A profound, brilliant book that returns Adam Smith to the centre of the classical liberal worldview. It should provoke a paradigm shift among classical liberals and libertarians."—Sam Bowman, AdamSmith.org

"Daniel Klein is one of those original thinkers that stands him out from the crowd of overly-safe players who dominate in academe... His recent thinking, expressed in his new book, Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation, is typical of his, on and beyond the frontier of accepted doctrine."—Gavin Kennedy, author of Adam Smith: A Moral Philosopher and His Political Economy, and Adam Smith's Lost Legacy

"Klein seeks to show that the best in economics from Marx and Mill to Hayek and Samuelson is 'Smithian'—that is, humanistic and scientific, historical and analytic, sympathetic and impartial, and above all 'liberal' in the root sense, suited to a free human. He succeeds brilliantly."—Deirdre McCloskey, author of Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce and The Cult of Statistical Significance

"Some books explain and defend principles with clear formulations and precise analysis; some books illustrate principles with vivid examples. Knowledge and Coordination does both. It is an engaging narrative exploring Adam Smithian spontaneous order that is enriched by genuine economic analysis, framed by personal history, and punctuated by compelling examples. It somehow manages to combine a plausible reinterpretation of Smith with an integration of Smith's insights into contemporary economic thought, while maintaining the reader's interest with fascinating stories and allusions from numerous sources. Klein has accomplished what some might have thought impossible: He has told a story about economics that is humane, compelling, enlightening—and interesting. There is no other book like it. You may think you know Adam Smith or modern economics, but you have not intellectually lived it until you have read Klein's book."—James R. Otteson, author of Adam Smith's


"Daniel Klein is a brilliant economist whose new book is a must read, not only for economists but for social scientists in general. What sets Klein apart from other economists is first and foremost his economic imagination; and he constantly surprises the reader with new angles and new ideas. What do Somerset Maugham, Soren Kierkegaard and Israel Kirzner have in common? Read Knowledge and Coordination for an answer!"—Richard Swedberg, author of Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology and Principles of Economic Sociology

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199355327
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/01/2013
Pages:
374
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Klein is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Associate Fellow at the Ratio Institute (Stockholm). He is the founder and the chief editor of Econ Journal Watch.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >