Summary of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
First Edition: 1942
Copyright, 1942, 1947 by Joseph A. Schumpeter. Copyright 1950 by Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. Summarized by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
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Economist Joseph A. Schumpeter’s keen intellect makes some of today’s scholarship sound like the spouting of ideology on talk shows. Some consider him the greatest economist of the twentieth century. Only an intellect of his towering stature would be able to present a case that while Marx was wrong about how capitalism would collapse, he was probably correct that it eventually would. Schumpeter also contends that socialism may eclipse free-market economies, news he feels society should greet with angst. He believed that capitalism’s doom would proceed not from a revolution by an angry proletariat, but rather as a result of successes that would give rise to a class of elites who would gradually institute systems of central control. Fully understanding this complex, although non-mathematical, treatise may require some background; it is not a book for the novice. While this 1942 classic may seem dated in spots, those who conclude that it is time to tap dance on socialism’s grave should consider that Schumpeter expected socialism’s dominance to take a century or more. getAbstract.com recommends this classic to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the historic, economic case for the rise of socialism.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why socialism is the likely heir to capitalism;
- How capitalism’s economic success, not its stagnation, will bring about its demise;
- How capitalism is a process of creative destruction; and
- How Schumpeter critiques Marx.
About the Author
Joseph A. Schumpeter was born in 1883 in the present Czech Republic. He taught anthropology at the University of Czernowitz (in modern-day Ukraine). He served as Austria's minister of finance from 1919 to 1920, as president of the Biederman Bank for the next four years, and as a professor at the University of Bonn from 1925 to 1932, when he relocated to Harvard. In 1933, he became the founding president of the Econometric Society. He taught at Harvard until his death in 1950. His magnum opus, History of Economic Analysis, was published posthumously in 1954.
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