"Let me step out of character for a moment and compliment you [I don't think that's all that out of character - DK]: You are a "deep" kind of guy who likes to think about what he's doing. You spend a lot of time at my blog keeping tabs on how those wacky Austro-libertarians look at the world, you read Sumner to see what mischief he's raising today, you read Boettke and Boudreaux to see how they are straw-manning people this morning... You get the point (and I'm trying to be funny), you spend a lot of time thinking through stuff. Most people--including economists--don't do that.He is referring to a point I made about how in a micro class I was teaching the week prior to the Kirzner lecture I asked them why they thought agents would grope toward equilibrium, what the incentives were for doing so, etc. - and that they gave (somewhat unsophisticated of course) market process answers.
So where am I going with this? The fact that you asked your micro class to think about finding equilibrium doesn't mean too much. It would be like me saying, "People say Austrians don't use math, but I taught a game theory class at Hillsdale." You are not a proxy for "the mainstream" since you keep abreast of a lot of approaches and like to think through what you're doing. You sort of gave away the game when you said, "But when we moved to Slutsky equation I lost them..." (or whatever). That's just what the Austrians say: They are doing intuitive, real-world economics, while mainstream does formal math models that are confusing and pointless.
Here's the thing, while I'd like to think I'd ask that anyway I didn't make that question off of the top of my head. I was covering a class for my adviser and I used his slides, and he used the textbook company's slides. Of course I guided the discussion how I chose to guide it but all of it was in the slides. My point still stands about the value of Kirzner: he thinks more deeply about this than most other economists. But the point is I'm not special. I genuinely think economists generally acknowledge the major points of market process theory, although of course they don't focus on it the same way. Very much like - as I alluded to in the last post - Newton acknowledged the reality of gravity and if I recall corresponded with people about possible explanations, but didn't worry so much about nailing that part of the problem down when he wrote up the Principia.
I'm not special. I'm not a great economist, I'm average and adequate at what I do. I didn't go to great schools, although I have nothing to complain about regarding my education. William and Mary especially is a very high quality school but the economics department, largely because it didn't have a PhD program, wasn't a superstar program or anything. With one exception* nothing I've come across in my education has been exceptional. I've used standard textbooks, had regular professors who generally had regular backgrounds themselves. They were very good professors of course but if you go to three schools you're bound to come across several of those (I had some bad professors too).
If I went to a Harvard or a Chicago I would worry that my outlook resulted from an exceptional background in some way - that I couldn't generalize from my experience to "standard economics education". But I don't have that background and I think I can say my experience is fairly typical (minus the unusual gender and Post-Keynesian, and even history of thought stuff I'm getting at AU, of course).
I think a much better explanation is that Kirzner is discounting the mainstream too much in a way that highlights his own contributions. Clearly the mainstream doesn't focus on Kirzner's research agenda with the energy that Kirzner focuses on Kirzner's research agenda. That's obviously true. But it seems to me that's a very different claim from the sorts that Kirzner was making the other day.
* The only thing close to a "best in the field" I've come into close contact with has been my work with Burt Barnow, who is one of the top experts in the job training literature.