14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Wrong conclusion, but all the same ...,
This review is from: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (Paperback)
In this book, first published in 1942, Joseph A. Schumpeter reached the conclusion that capitalism wouldn't be able to survive, due to diverse characteristics that were intrinsic to it. For example, he thought that monopolistic practices would only increase with time, thus damaging the capitalist process and not allowing it to function smoothly.
Obviously, by now we have realized that his conclusion was inexact, but that doesn't mean that we should overlook *Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy*. Schumpeter's analysis of capitalism and socialism, his concept of *creative destruction* and his economic definition of democracy are only some of the things included in this book that should be taken into account. Perhaps reality didn't end up matching the premises the author adhered to, but all the same we are likely to learn a lot from the valid points he makes along the way.
Schumpeter's draws the arguments to support his ideas from different fields: Economy, Sociology, History, and even (sometimes) Psychology. Because of that his premises don't tend to be unidimensional, but rather take into account the different facets of reality. As a result, this book is much more interesting to read, even though it might seem somehow difficult at first to many readers.
The interesting ideas in *Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy* are many, and I can't tell you about all of them without making this review impossibly long. Despite that, I can tell you at least something regarding the notions that I consider more interesting, for example the well-explained notion that *creative destruction* is the essence of capitalism. Also, I think that it is worthwhile to highlight Schumpeter's economic definition of the democratic method, as an *institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people's vote*.
On the whole, I think you will enormously appreciate this landmark book, if you enjoy a good and careful analysis and aren't easily scared by books that at first glance seem too difficult. Provided you persist, you will realize that this book is as easy to tackle as many others... The only difference is that after reading *Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy* you will know a lot more, something that not so many other books can offer :)
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Initial post: 30 Nov 2009 01:37:35 GMT
Schumpeter wouldnt define the status quo as capitalist, for the very reasons you mentioned, infact I'm not sure that many of the classical economic school where they entirely honest could. There's not a successful economy today that doesnt more or less conform to Keynesian norms.
Posted on 30 Jan 2010 17:57:48 GMT
Jacob Hoffman says:
Just one thing to consider. You appear to be looking to the past whereas Schumpeter was looking into the future. What I mean by that is that Schumpeter tried to predict what would happen in the distant future - never once specifying an exact time period- whereas you are looking to the past and saying, " well if it hasn't happened thus far, it will never happen". In essence, you are trying to cut the timeline short and falsify his claims using incomplete data.
I'm not saying he's certainly right, but I think in the grand scheme of things, even 200-300 years isn't long enough for us to say for sure that what these men have said is wrong.
Just think about it.
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