Information, Uncertainty & Espionage

Phillips, Peter J. ORCID: and Pohl, Gabriela ORCID: (2022) Information, Uncertainty & Espionage. Review of Austrian Economics. ISSN 0889-3047

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Intelligence scholars are drawing on behavioural decision theory to improve decision-making under risk and uncertainty in intelligence and counterintelligence. Such an undertaking is essentially lacking without the Austrian school’s concepts of knowledge, discovery, (entrepreneurial) judgement, ignorance, rational calculation and, more generally, its analysis of human action in the face of true uncertainty. Decision theory, both orthodox and behavioural, depicts decision rather narrowly as a prioritisation task undertaken within a delineated problem space where the probabilities 'sum to one'. From such a perspective, certain perennial challenges in intelligence and counterintelligence appear resolvable when in fact they are not, at least not when approached from the usual direction. We explain how Austrian concepts can complement efforts to improve intelligence decision-making. We conclude that the future strategic value of intelligence analysis is located beyond information acquisition, however fast and however vast. Intelligence agencies have no price signals to help them determine how much intelligence to produce. And governments have no price signals to moderate their appetites for the intelligence product. Ultimately, those agencies that recognise the implications of intelligence agencies as non-price institutions and adapt their decision-making processes may find that they have the upper hand over their rivals.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2022 23:08
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2022 23:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: Austrian School, Knowledge, Discovery, Ignorance, Uncertainty, Intelligence, Counterintelligence, Behavioural Decision Theory, Non-Price Institutions
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380102 Behavioural economics
38 ECONOMICS > 3803 Economic theory > 380304 Microeconomic theory
46 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 4602 Artificial intelligence > 460206 Knowledge representation and reasoning
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440804 Defence studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 14 DEFENCE > 1401 Defence > 140105 Intelligence, surveillance and space
14 DEFENCE > 1401 Defence > 140109 National security
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