Daniel B. Klein “The Improprieties of the Pretense of Knowledge”

April 23, 2012
Adam Smith denounced the folly and presumption of interventionists, and Friedrich Hayek denounced their pretense of knowledge. Daniel B. Klein’s new book attempts to renew Smith and Hayek and go beyond. His talk will focus on the hubris of interventionism, arguing that such arrogance hangs on maneuvers in government and “expert” quarters that pretend to make things simpler than they are. In particular, he will explain how economists flatten knowledge down to information and thereby shortchange the case for liberty. A candid understanding of knowledge makes us more virtuous and more libertarian.

Additional information provided by the author: “Knowledge has its counterpart in action, and your actions emerge from your normative calls in personal policy-making. On those two steps Klein proposes to bring to the traditional Hayekian knowledge problem a prism of Smithian moral analysis. This approach perhaps sheds new light on the absurdities and profound quackishness of statist pretenses of knowledge.”

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