Last modified on 20 July 2014, at 21:22

Joseph Schumpeter

Joseph Schumpter
This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (February 8, 1883January 8, 1950) was an economist from Austria and an influential political scientist.


  • Gentlemen, a depression is for capitalism like a good, cold douche.
  • Innovation is the market introduction of a technical or organisational novelty, not just its invention.
    • (Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, 1911)

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (Third Edition)Edit

  • I felt it my duty to take, and to inflict upon the reader, considerable trouble in order to lead up effectively to my paradoxical conclusion: capitalism is being killed by its achievements.
    • Preface, pg.xiv
  • However, if Marx had not been more than a purveyor of phraseology, he would be dead by now.
    • Part I, Chapter I, pg.5
  • Geniuses and prophets do not usually excel in professional learning, and their originality, if any, is often due precisely to the fact that they do not.
    • Part I, Chapter III, pg.21
  • As a matter of fact, capitalist economy is not and cannot be stationary. Nor is it merely expanding in a steady manner. It is incessantly being revolutionized from within by new enterprise, i.e., by the intrusion of new commodities or new methods of production or new commercial opportunities into the industrial structure as it exists at any moment.
    • Part I, Chapter III, pg.31
  • For one thing, to predict the advent of big business was considering the conditions of Marx's day an achievement in itself.
    • Part I, Chapter III, pg.34
  • Any existing structures and all the conditions of doing business are always in a process of change. Every situation is being upset before it has had time to work itself out. Economic progress, in a capitalist society, means turmoil.
  • The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U. S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation-if I may use that biological term-that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.
    • Part II, Chapter VII, pg.83
  • Situations emerge in the process of creative destruction in which many firms may have to perish that nevertheless would be able to live on vigorously and usefully if they could weather a particular storm.
    • Part II, Chapter VIII, pg.90
  • Nothing is so retentive as a nation's memory.
    • Part II, Chapter VIII, pg.100
  • Want and effective demand are not the same thing. If they were, the poorest nations would be the ones to display the most vigorous demand.
    • Part II, Chapter X, pg.114
  • Capitalism stands its trial before judges who have the sentence of death in their pockets. They are going to pass it, whatever the defense they may hear; the only success victorious defense can possibly produce is a change in the indictment.
    • Part II, Chapter XIII, pg. 144
  • Capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.
    • Part II, Chapter XIII, Section II, pg. 146
  • It is quite possible that future generations will look upon arguments about the inferiority of the socialist plan as we look upon Adam Smith's argument about joint stock companies which, also, were simply false.
    • Part III, Chapter XVII, pg.196
  • The capitalist process shapes things and souls for socialism.
    • Part III, Chapter XIX, Section I, pg.220
  • Nothing is so treacherous as the obvious.
    • Part IV, Chapter XX, Section I, pg.235
  • To realize the relative validity of one's convictions and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilized man from a barbarian.
    • Part IV, Chapter XX, Section III, pg.243
  • In economic life competition is never completely lacking, but hardly ever is it perfect.
    • Part IV, Chapter XXII, pg 271
  • The trouble with Russia is not that she is socialist but that she is Russia.
    • Part V, Chapter XXVIII, pg.404
  • This civilization is rapidly passing away, however. Let us rejoice or else lament the fact as much as everyone of us likes; but do not let us shut our eyes to it.
    • The March into Socialism, pg.419

Quotes about Joseph SchumpeterEdit

  • Schumpeter was the most romantic of economists, and capitalism to his eyes had all the glamor and excitement of a knightly jousting tourney.

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