Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution and Economic Significance, Volume I

Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution and Economic Significance, Volume I: Knowledge and Knowledge Production

Fritz Machlup
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution and Economic Significance, Volume I
    Book Description:

    With this first of eight volumes, the eminent economist Fritz Machlup launches his monumental inquiry into the production of knowledge as an economic activity. Volume I presents the conceptual framework for this inquiry and falls into three parts: Types of Knowledge, Qualities of Knowledge, and Knowledge as a Product.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5600-8
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Fritz Machlup
    (pp. xv-2)

    The story of this work is, I think, worth telling. This should imply that it is also worth reading. I have tried it out on a few patient victims, and they said it had made no demands on their patience and they felt in no way victimized. Boldly generalizing from their flattering reactions, I offer my story to any reader who is not averse to browsing through authors’ self-advertisements.

    My first thought was to include this story in the Introduction. Sanford Thatcher, of the Princeton University Press, wisely advised against it: such intimate matters about the author and his work...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-24)

    Every branch of learning takes a good many things for granted. If these things have to be explained, “Let George do it.” George is always someone in another discipline. Hence, the analysis of the production and distribution of knowledge falls into George’s field.

    George has always been a popular fellow. People were inclined to rely upon him even if they did not know whether he really existed. In recent years, however, Georges have actually appeared on the scene in increasing numbers. Many of them are called “interdisciplinary research workers.”

    Anything that goes under the name of “production and distribution” sounds...

  7. Part One: Types of Knowledge
    • CHAPTER 2 The Known and the Knowing
      (pp. 27-58)

      Some people have firm convictions regarding the virtue or vice of beginning a discussion with definitions. Even nationalistic prejudices have been appealed to in this cause. I have heard references to Teutonic authoritarianism and its propensity at the very outset to impose definitions upon the helpless reader; to English pragmatism and its propensity to defer definitions until it has become clear what is called for in the setting of problems and issues; to French orthology and its propensity to proscribe discourse on undefined subjects. I have no convictions on this question. In the present instance, however, it would be impossible...

    • CHAPTER 3 Mundane, Scientific, Humanistic, Artistic, and Other Classes of Knowledge
      (pp. 59-100)

      Attempts to classify knowledge (in the sense of that which is known) are often more enlightening than attempts to define it. Classifications are said to make little sense unless it is stated what purposes they are to serve. Sometimes, however, the purpose may be merely to give an impression of the range and variety of things that are there to think about. An exhaustive classification may suggest a definition; a merely illustrative classification would leave the definition open but may still suggest most of what is meant by the term in question.

      Just because so may writers on knowledge have...

    • CHAPTER 4 Alternative Classifications of Knowledge
      (pp. 101-110)

      So many types of knowledge have been discussed and so many distinctions made in the previous chapter that it may appear excessively pedantic to present another collection of distinctions and classifications. Yet, philosophers and administrators of knowledge have proposed sets of distinctions which must not be overlooked in a discourse of this sort. A review of customarily distinguished aspects of knowledge is in order before we can come up with classifications most appropriate for the purposes of this book.

      Without going into details and without engaging in an “in-depth” analysis of the differences, I shall place the following distinctions on...

  8. Part Two: Qualities of Knowledge
    • CHAPTER 5 Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
      (pp. 113-124)

      Different schools of philosophy differ in essential ways in defining knowledge and relating it to cognate terms. The major problems concern the truth value and probability value of assertions or knowledge claims and the logical relations among knowledge, belief, conjecture, hunch, promise, expectation, conviction, evidence, verification, confirmation, verisimilitude, falsification, refutation, and other members of the family of notions that may come to mind when we hear someone—or rather a man of science or learning—say “I know.”

      A large issue for philosophers, especially of the linguistic-analytic school, is whether knowledge is a particular kind of belief, whether belief is...

    • CHAPTER 6 Other Standards of Quality
      (pp. 125-143)

      Truth, beauty, and goodness, the triad of qualities more or less applicable to knowledge (in the sense of what is or may be known or conjectured), command the stage of philosophical discourse; but in less sophisticated, everyday parlance, a few additional qualities receive casual attention. These refer chiefly to knowledge disseminated by print media and electronic media of communication. I propose to examine a few pairs of opposites—serious versus lightweight knowledge, workmanlike versus shoddy knowledge, wanted versus unwanted knowledge—and a few special qualities, such as noncomprehended knowledge, forbidden knowledge, dangerous knowledge, and supposedly unwholesome knowledge.

      Two pairs of...

    • CHAPTER 7 Notions of Negative Knowledge
      (pp. 144-152)

      Is there something that should be called negative knowledge? If so, what is it?

      Some who have suggested the term “negative knowledge” want it to mean erroneous knowledge, or knowledge which has proved false or will prove false when properly tested.¹ Others have used the term in a different sense, namely, to refer to knowledge that negates propositions previously or potentially held, by themselves or by others. These are just two of a much larger family of notions that may somehow deserve designation as negative knowledge. I shall first introduce, and then discuss, several members of this family: erroneous knowledge,...

  9. Part Three: Knowledge as a Product
    • CHAPTER 8 Choosers and Users of Knowledge
      (pp. 155-160)

      Who decides what kinds of knowledge, and how much of each kind, are to be produced in the country? In the usual microeconomic model for market economies, the theorist has imaginary, idealized producers make the decisions about what and how much to produce, and these decisions are based on the potential salability of the product, that is, on their expectation that their product will meet the preferences of consumers (or intermediate producers). The producers’ initiatives or, alternatively, their reactions to market signals are interpreted as being controlled by the consumers’ free choices. Does such a model of decision-making apply to...

    • CHAPTER 9 Stocks and Flows of Knowledge
      (pp. 161-177)

      In economics a fundamental distinction is commonly made between stocks and flows, usually with reference to goods, to capital funds, to money. The distinction applies also to knowledge. At any moment of time, there is a stock of knowledge; during any period of time, there is a flow of knowledge.

      As far as the stock is concerned, we should distinguish between knowledge on record and knowledge in the mind. Recorded knowledge may be written, printed, drawn, painted, or engraved on paper or other material, or encoded on disks, tapes, or other implements, for people to read, listen to, or decode...

    • CHAPTER 10 The Economic Cost of Knowledge
      (pp. 178-185)

      We have tentatively concluded that stocks of knowledge are neither measurable nor comparable, whereas flows of knowledge can be quantified and appraised by the “measuring rod of money” applied either to what is being paid for the knowledge by those who buy it (for themselves or for others) or to what is being given up for it to be made available. This statement, however, is far too general and inaccurate to be accepted without qualification, for it will be seen in a moment that large components in the flow of knowledge require neither payment nor sacrifices.¹

      It is well known...

    • CHAPTER 11 Transmission and Reception
      (pp. 186-192)

      Having left no doubt about the essential duality of knowledge as that which is known and as the state of knowing it, I need not hesitate to repeat that knowledge production can mean producing additional new ideas—extending the universe of the known—but also producing a state of knowing in additional minds—extending the population of knowers. For reasons that have become clear (or at least less obscure) in the discourse on stocks and flows of knowledge, an examination of processes or methods of producing knowledge will be more fruitful if it places primary emphasis on activities designed to...

    • CHAPTER 12 Consumption, Investment, Intermediate Product
      (pp. 193-201)

      Distinctions provisionally made in a previous chapter with a promise of later elaboration have been casually used in the preceding pages; it is time to reexamine them with greater care. I refer to the distinctions among different ends of producing knowledge, to wit, immediate consumption, investment, and intermediate services in the production of other goods—goods which in turn may be destined for consumption, investment, or inputs for producing still other goods.

      In economic theory, “production” implies that “valuable input” is allocated to the bringing forth of “valuable output.” The input is valued in terms of foregone opportunities—that is,...

    • CHAPTER 13 Uses, Value, and Benefits of Knowledge
      (pp. 202-224)

      This chapter owes its existence to a sense of frustration about some very hardy misconceptions on the part of information scientists, management consultants, educators, librarians, engineers, R and D specialists, inventors, and many other producers of knowledge.¹ Any producer is interested in what use is being made of his product; he rejoices at the thought of producing something useful—useful especially to society or all mankind. He is convinced that anything that is useful must be of value, and he is pleased to hear that his efforts bestow benefits upon society.

      It is not surprising, therefore, that many writers on...

    • CHAPTER 14 Knowledge Industries and Knowledge Occupations
      (pp. 225-241)

      A few times in discussing the various types of knowledge and the methods of knowledge production, I have used the phrase “knowledge industry.” Although we shall soon find that this phrase is not really appropriate, even as an analogy, I shall go on using it, especially when I embark on a discussion of the conceptual and operational difficulties of an analysis of knowledge-producing “industry.” No conceptual difficulties are encountered in an analysis of “knowledge occupations.” Definitions of these terms will be formulated after it becomes a little clearer what is involved.

      A statistical analysis of any industry and of its...

  10. List of Pages with Lines of Text Retained from the 1962 Volume
    (pp. 242-244)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 245-272)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 273-273)