Happy Schumpeter Day

8 February 2010 at 6:55 am 5 comments

| Peter Klein |

Today’s the birthday of Joesph A. Schumpeter, one of the great theorists — and one of the great characters — in the history of economics. To celebrate, how about remembering some of the classic Schumpeter quotes:

“[Competitive] behavior . . . is the result of a piece of past history and . . . as an attempt by those firms to keep on their feet, on ground that is slipping away from under them.”

“The process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism … it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from . . . new technology . . . competition which strikes not at the margins of profits . . . of existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.”

“Intellectuals are people who wield the power of the spoken and written word, and one of the touches that distinguishes them from other people who do the same is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs . . . .The critical attitude [arises] no less from the intellectual’s situation as an onlooker — in most cases, also an outsider — than from the fact that his main chance of asserting himself lies in his actual or potential nuisance value.”

“[C]apitalism, while economically stable, creates a mentality and a style of life incompatible with its own fundamental conditions. [It] will be changed, although not by economic necessity and probably even at some sacrifice of economic welfare, into an order of things which it will be merely a matter of taste and terminology to call Socialism or not.”

Update: Walter Grinder reminds me that it’s also Julian Simon’s birthday. Here’s a nice tribute from Steven Moore.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Classical Liberalism, History of Economic and Management Thought, People.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cliff Grammich  |  8 February 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t list this one (though you have quoted it before): “Thus the typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way which he would readily recognize as infantile within the sphere of his real interests. He becomes a primitive again.” (Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, 3rd edition, pp. 262-63.)

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  8 February 2010 at 11:29 pm

    There are so many good ones to choose from!

  • 3. Jonathan Thomas  |  10 February 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Actually, Simon’s birthday isn’t until the 12th, which also happens to be Bohm Bawker’s birthday as well.

  • 4. Peter Klein  |  10 February 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Whoops, sorry, thanks for the correction. February 8 was actually his death date, not birth date.

  • 5. Mario Rizzo  |  12 February 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I wonder what Schumpeter would say about today’s ultra formal economics. The Walrasian in him might have loved it. But the Austrian (?) in him might have found it too restrictive. Who would have won?

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