Monday, July 2, 2007

On Humility In Human Progress - Implications For Entrepreneurial Awareness

Entreprenuers often fail. Most envision ideas of invention or theory in their own sphere of grandeur, ignorant of how the rest of the world fails to attribute their value. To what should entreprenuerial awareness focus? Kirzner in Action and Alertness writes of awareness to error and discovery as a source of entrepreneurial activity. I propose an additional source. Successful entrepreneurial awareness arises from awareness to economic orders developing en masse.

Hayek writes in Individualism, “[Reason] is a product of an acute consciousness of the limitations of the individual mind which induces an attitude of humility toward the impersonal and anonymous social processes by which individuals help to create things greater than they know, while the latter is the product of an exaggerated belief in the powers of individual reason and of a consequent contempt for anything which has not been consciously designed by it or is not fully intelligible to it.”

An individually successful entrepreneur merely stakes claim to the recognition of a newly established economic order, unrecognized beforehand. This is the reason with a capital R, Hayek discusses. True entrepreneurial activity is a humble and anonymous process. There is no fantasy of something new. It is a recognition of an economic, scientific, or social movement already in progress.

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