17 February 2012

He Said It: Israel Kirzner

"We argue that profits grasped by the entrepreneur are in the nature of an unowned, unperceived object first discovered by an alert pioneer, who, in the view of many, becomes the legitimate private owner of that which he has discovered, on the basis of the 'finders-keepers' ethic. [...] The special ethical relevance of spontaneous discovery arises precisely from the circumstance that it can be classified neither as a deliberate activity nor as an occurrence strictly attributable to blind chance."

--Israel M. Kirzner, "The Nature of Profits: Some Economic Insights and Their Ethical Implications," in Cowan and Rizzo, eds., Profits and Morality (Chicago, 1995)

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