Dec 06, Patrick rated it it was ok. Schumpeter lived a very, well, Schumpeterian lifestyle, battered up and down and around the world by the winds of economic turmoil. He argues that this undulating dynamism is in fact the defining attribute of capitalism and the reason it has been so undeniably successful at achieving economic growth. Unlike most economists he defends capitalism warts-and-all: He fully recognizes that we have never lived in anything like a perfectly-competitive efficient market, and goes on to say that we wouldn' Schumpeter lived a very, well, Schumpeterian lifestyle, battered up and down and around the world by the winds of economic turmoil.
Unlike most economists he defends capitalism warts-and-all: He fully recognizes that we have never lived in anything like a perfectly-competitive efficient market, and goes on to say that we wouldn't even want to in the first place. He explicitly defends monopoly and speculation, and honestly makes a surprisingly good case. Where he begins to lose me is in his defense of depressions; he seems to think that a depression is a necessary corrective for the excesses of the boom, an attitude that Krugman aptly dubbed "sado-monetarism".
No, a depression is a mistake, an error that can be corrected relatively easily by sound policy. And then near the end of the book he goes completely off the deep end, going on a long rant about how it is "obvious" that rich people are superior beings and anyone who would doubt this is foolish or evil. To be fair, he would never have met Paris Hilton or Donald Trump. In his long discussion of socialism he actually he seems to think that the tyranny of Mao and Stalin were essential—even laudable—because there is simply no other way of keeping the masses in line.
It was so sickening I had to simply give up on the book at that point. It is a great read, especially for those interested in the political economy. Definitely not a light read, it took me forever to finish. But it was worth the read. By and large Schumpeter agrees with Karl Marx that socialism will ultimately follow after capitalism but they differ fundamentally on how that will come about. Karl Marx believed that socialism would come at the behest of the proletariat through revolutions, whereas Schumpeter believes that capitalism by its very nature of creative destruction, it will cause its own destruction.
Jun 22, Tyler rated it really liked it. I am finished with this book finally and I think I have read a glimpse into Marx a little more. I have read Marx's Communist Manifesto before, believe it or not, and it was one of the first books on economics I've read. Well that state of mind was very similar to many others in the early 20th century as they read the pamphleteering of various political party interests.
This work discounts some of the more radical notions but retains some of the core tenets of Marxist communism. A thorough look a I am finished with this book finally and I think I have read a glimpse into Marx a little more. A thorough look at some of the more finer kinds of socialism is a little wanting, but their history is not.
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He will simply lump all forms of older socialism like Fourierism into 'Orthodox socialism'. Every shape and kind of socialism is in here, St. Simon, Plato, everyone. You could hardly think of a type of society not mentioned. This is a must read for the political theorist. As an economist though, I am lukewarm.
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I think that his analysis of economic conditions is interesting at times, but choppily made. I have just started Morgenstern's book on accuracy in economic investigations, so I am no pro, but I don't think you should ever 'roughly' compute figures while dropping entire numbers off of both sides of the eventual estimate. For instance, if you're going to have a liberal or conservative estimate that's fine, but I can think of at least one time whilst in Part II where the unbelievably atrocious statistical estimates occur that he just leaves off entire numbers on both sides, so that the answer is both conservative and liberal I mean that's just not right, nor is it accurate.
Now to speak of his economic terminology. If he isn't a good quantitative economist, surely he must be a good qualitative one? I was first struck with difficulty when he wasn't including 'wages to employees' in his term 'prime cost'. I assumed it was because he hadn't read Keynes yet. I was right.
Joseph Schumpeter: “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” | Tavaana
I still think he should have defined that particular term before he used it in the footnote. The issue I have starts at the last chapter, as you can imagine. It seems he finally did his homework and read Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, and while I did not enjoy many of Keynes' conclusions or his solutions to those conclusions either, I must admit I am at once struck with how he grossly misinterpreted him.
At some point in the book, he essentially equates consumption with saving. So either he didn't read the book or just didn't understand it. He also failed to use any of its important concepts like marginality or elasticity and just decided to drone on and on incorrectly about Keynes. That was one chapter. He kept himself within the sphere of history of political science and political philosophy mostly the entire time, so I cannot complain with his ability to deftly explain these concepts in a way which was coeval with some of the greater political scientists like Tocqueville or Burke the latter of whom is specifically referenced at least three times.
This was a good read overall by what can only be described as an 'Austrian socialist'. A socialist, because he believed in socialism and wasn't a Marxist, and an Austrian, because he didn't understand the quantitative side of economics. View 2 comments. Feb 09, Otto Lehto rated it liked it. Schumpeter was a fascinating character, and his essays and books are fascinating to read. They seem to elude easy categorization. This particular book evinces an almost Hegelian dialectical method, whereby socialism and capitalism are seen as two sides of the same modernist coin.
The section on capitalism contains the analysis of "creative destruction", which is justifiably well-known. But that only takes up a few pages, whereas the rest is devoted to a historical analysis of the conditions unde Schumpeter was a fascinating character, and his essays and books are fascinating to read. But that only takes up a few pages, whereas the rest is devoted to a historical analysis of the conditions under which socialism seems to arise as a viable, almost inevitable, successor, to it.
Although a bourgeois economist, out of the three things he covers, capitalism seems to be the least important - at least for the argument he wants to make.
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And as he allows the market society to take the back seat, he allows the promise of socialism to bear its full weight as the next stage in the evolution. The sections on socialism rely on a notion of socialism that seems very curious to us today. He seems to think there are no fundamental problems with organizing a society through a central planning board. Partially outdated, partially all over the place, partially just crazy, the book is nonetheless a fascinating read, since Schumpeter is such a unique thinker, even though the book's value as a lasting contribution - outside of the tremendously important notion of "creative destruction" which seems to have achieved a life of its own - to the field of economics is dubious.
It bears very little immediate relevance for his further argument on the relationship between capitalism and socialism, but it provides very definite proof of the occasional genius of Schumpeter. At pages, it is too long. There is almost no reason to read the whole book.
The gist of his historical argument for the inevitability of the transition from capitalism to socialism can be gained by skimming through a couple of the central chapters. His charitable analysis of the positive potential of centralized socialism as a method of efficient economic management has been completely disproved both theoretically and empirically which unfortunately makes the middle part of the book almost valueless, aside from its occasionally brilliant observations.
The last pages that deal with the history of socialist parties is entirely superfluous I admit to skipping it. So, I would say the book could be condensed to about a pages without losing anything.
I would, however, recommend reading the sections on "creative destruction" and his brilliantly caustic and spot on analysis of democracy. Dec 11, Mehmed Gokcel rated it really liked it. I got to read selective parts of this book and thought the analysis of Marxist thought was incredibly insightful and Schumpeter's prediction of capitalism's end compellingly argued. Particularly his analysis of Democracy as a mode of self-determination both politically and economically leads to the argument that it is inseparable from socialism.
He is not a fan of this outcome, but is inclined to give credit to the power of this motive in determining systems of governing and economics. Dec 08, Stevenglinert rated it it was amazing. Schumpeter must have been a really shitty human being to hang out with.
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And his dating profile must have been intolerable to even read. Schumpeter does a better take-down of socialism and Marx than Hayek or Von Mises, but never gets into any libertarian sounding nonsense and his shtick about capitalism is the best pitch I've heard for it in awhile. Also for a book about economics, it's written in like, the most bitchy tone.
Sep 08, Curtis rated it it was amazing. An Austrian economist I can read and agree with most of the time. One of the best analysts since Weber. Apr 16, Buck rated it really liked it. For someone who criticizes others for being prolix, he sure can ramble.