The radical conservatism of Frank H. knight*: Angus Burgin

Modern Intellectual History 6 (3):513-538 (2009)

Abstract
This article examines the most prominent interwar economist at the University of Chicago, Frank Knight, through the lens of a controversial 1932 lecture in which he exhorted his audience to vote Communist. The fact that he did so poses a historical problem: why did the premier American exponent of conservative economic principles appear to advocate a vote for radical change? This article argues that the speech is representative of Knight's deliberately paradoxical approach, in which he refused to praise markets without adding caveats about their substantial limitations, and expressed support for freedom of discussion alongside his skepticism of the public's capacity to exercise the privilege. In parsing these tensions, the article revises the conventional interpretation of Knight, illuminates the contested environment within which postwar free-market economics emerged, and reexamines a restrained defense of capitalism that has been largely forgotten in the subsequent years.
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DOI 10.1017/S1479244309990163
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References found in this work BETA

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1963 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.
Intellectual Confusion on Morals and Economics.Frank H. Knight - 1935 - International Journal of Ethics 45 (2):200-220.

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Citations of this work BETA

Frank Knight's 'Categories' and the Definition of Economics.John Hart - 2014 - Journal of Economic Methodology 21 (3):290-307.
Maintaining (Environmental) Capital Intact.Emma Rothschild - 2011 - Modern Intellectual History 8 (1):193-212.

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