Aug 31, 1993

Israel Kirzner on Ethics and Entrepreneurship

Israel Kirzner is an Austrian economist and one of the world’s foremost experts on Ludwig von Mises’s methodology and thought.

In this lecture given at a seminar in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1993, Kirzner talks about ethics, entrepreneurship, and how wealth is created in society. He also describes the distinction he made between two kinds of ignorance: ignorance of specific knowledge but having the knowledge of how specific knowledge may be obtained, and sheer ignorance — not knowing how to access specific knowledge because we don’t know what we don’t know. Kirzner says that sheer ignorance requires an entrepreneurial role to overcome it, which allows entrepreneurs to discover demand for products and services that consumers didn’t even know they needed or wanted.