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.
- Austrian economics
- Industrial revolution