Discovering rhetoric: The ecology of enterprise in the Bourgeois Era

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Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Dignity deploys Israel Kirzner's theory of entrepreneurial discovery in her explanation of the Industrial Revolution. This essay examines whether Kirzner's theory can bear the analytical load that McCloskey would place on it. I identify two potential incongruities between Kirzner's theory and McCloskey's historical account but find them both unconvincing. Kirzner's entrepreneur is a good fit for McCloskey's story. I argue further that the fit can be strengthened by incorporating further elements of Kirzner's theory, including entrepreneurial alertness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-762
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Austrian economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Industrial revolution


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