Competition as Discovery Process

I t would not be easy to defend macroeconomists against the charge that for 40 or 50 years they have investigated competition primarily under assumptions which, if they were actually true, would make competition completely useless and uninteresting. If anyone actually knew everything that economic theory designated as “data,” competition would indeed be a highly wasteful method of securing adjustment to these facts. Hence it is also not surprising that some authors have concluded that we can either completely renounce the market, or that its outcomes are to be considered at most a first step toward creating a social product that we can then manipulate, correct, or redistribute in any way we please. Others, who apparently have taken their notion of competition exclusively from modern textbooks, have concluded that such competition does not exist at all.

F. A. Hayek
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Published in: Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
2002 Volume 5, No. 3
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