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Unfolding the Allegory behind Market Communication and Social Error and Correction

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Daniel Klein, Företagandets villkor, Friedrich Hayek, Marknadskommunikation, Osynliga handen

Abstract

One aspect of the present paper is to draw out the Adam Smith in Friedrich Hayek. I suggest that common economic talk of market communication, market error and correction, and policy error and correction invokes a spectatorial being and appeals to our sympathy with such being. Behind such common economic talk, I suggest, are implicit allegories wherein an allegorical figure runs a system of superior knowledge, communication, and voluntary cooperation. Theoretical discussions of social error invoke the notion of agent error applied to the allegorical being. Similarly, theoretical talk of social correction invokes the notion of agent correction applied to the allegorical being. The allegory behind such talk is vital and necessary because without it the talk of social or market communication, error, and correction cannot be sustained. Unfolding the allegory clarifies the meaning, limitations, and value of such talk. Making what had been implicit explicit helps economists to avoid overstating their generalizations or making those generalizations sound more precise and accurate than they are. Meanwhile, scholars have pointed out that spectating impartially involves something of a paradox – distant-closeness, or cool-warmth. Concurring, I explore the connections between the features of the allegorical being and the doings of the economic agents. I suggest that the cogency of such theorizing depends on such correspondences, and that they are matters of culture, of both the context within which the theorizing is done and of the context theorized about.
Related content: Working Paper No. 133

Klein, D. (2013). Unfolding the Allegory behind Market Communication and Social Error and Correction. The Adam Smith Review, 7 [Article 5.2].

Based on content

Unfolding the Allegory behind Market Communication and Social Error and Correction
Artikel (med peer review)Publication
Klein, D.
Publication year

2013

Abstract

One aspect of the present paper is to draw out the Adam Smith in Friedrich Hayek. I suggest that common economic talk of market communication, market error and correction, and policy error and correction invokes a spectatorial being and appeals to our sympathy with such being. Behind such common economic talk, I suggest, are implicit allegories wherein an allegorical figure runs a system of superior knowledge, communication, and voluntary cooperation. Theoretical discussions of social error invoke the notion of agent error applied to the allegorical being. Similarly, theoretical talk of social correction invokes the notion of agent correction applied to the allegorical being. The allegory behind such talk is vital and necessary because without it the talk of social or market communication, error, and correction cannot be sustained. Unfolding the allegory clarifies the meaning, limitations, and value of such talk. Making what had been implicit explicit helps economists to avoid overstating their generalizations or making those generalizations sound more precise and accurate than they are. Meanwhile, scholars have pointed out that spectating impartially involves something of a paradox – distant-closeness, or cool-warmth. Concurring, I explore the connections between the features of the allegorical being and the doings of the economic agents. I suggest that the cogency of such theorizing depends on such correspondences, and that they are matters of culture, of both the context within which the theorizing is done and of the context theorized about.
Related content: Working Paper No. 133

Knowledge and Coordination a liberal Interpretation
BookPublication
Klein, D.
Publication year

2011

Abstract

Too often in economics the understanding of how things work by and large–not axiomatically or categorically–and the idea that we generally cannot know the economic system well enough to intervene into it beneficially are done less than justice. Yet they were Adam Smith’s central messages for public policy, and they authorized a presumption of liberty, thus exceptions to liberty should be treated as exceptional and bear the burden of proof.

In Knowledge and Coordination, Daniel Klein reexamines the elements of economic liberalism. He interprets Friedrich Hayek’s notion of spontaneous order from the aestheticized perspective of an allegorical Smithian spectator. 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. Entrepreneurship is interpreted in terms of discovery, or new knowledge. He points out that beyond information, knowledge entails interpretation and judgment. Rejecting homo economicus, Klein offers a distinctive formulation of knowledge economics, entailing asymmetric interpretation, judgment, entrepreneurship, error and correction. This richness of knowledge joins agent and analyst, and meaningful theory depends on tacit affinities between the two, even common contacts with an allegorical spectator. Knowledge and Coordination illuminates the recurring connections to underlying purposes and sensibilities, of analysts as well as agents.

Knowledge and Coordination is an imaginative and insightful 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.

Knowledge and Coordination a liberal Interpretation
BokPublication
Klein, D.
Publication year

2011

Abstract

Too often in economics the understanding of how things work by and large–not axiomatically or categorically–and the idea that we generally cannot know the economic system well enough to intervene into it beneficially are done less than justice. Yet they were Adam Smith’s central messages for public policy, and they authorized a presumption of liberty, thus exceptions to liberty should be treated as exceptional and bear the burden of proof.

In Knowledge and Coordination, Daniel Klein reexamines the elements of economic liberalism. He interprets Friedrich Hayek’s notion of spontaneous order from the aestheticized perspective of an allegorical Smithian spectator. 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. Entrepreneurship is interpreted in terms of discovery, or new knowledge. He points out that beyond information, knowledge entails interpretation and judgment. Rejecting homo economicus, Klein offers a distinctive formulation of knowledge economics, entailing asymmetric interpretation, judgment, entrepreneurship, error and correction. This richness of knowledge joins agent and analyst, and meaningful theory depends on tacit affinities between the two, even common contacts with an allegorical spectator. Knowledge and Coordination illuminates the recurring connections to underlying purposes and sensibilities, of analysts as well as agents.

Knowledge and Coordination is an imaginative and insightful 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.

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