Entrepreneurship, and the Entrepreneurial Market Process: Israel M. Kirzner and the Two Levels of Analysis in Spontaneous Order Studies

PETER J. BOETTKE
THE REVIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS 27.3 (2014): 233-247

Abstract: The science of economics is born out of the puzzle that the coordination of economic activities presents to our imagination. The solution to that puzzle is the entrepreneurial market process. Israel Kirzner has argued that the market economy operates with ruthless efficiency to coordinate economic activities and realize the gains from social cooperation under the division of labor because of the institutional framework within which it operates, namely private property rights. Kirzner, however, is suspicious of economic analysis that doesn’t limit its analysis to an examination of processes within that framework, but instead attempts to apply that analysis to the evolution of the framework itself. These are the two-levels of analysis in spontaneous order studies. This paper presents Kirzner’s arguments for maintaining a strict dichotomy between the levels of analysis, and then challenges his argument with a discussion of the positive political economy of endogenous rule formation.