The ghost of Schumpeter

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Cleetus posts

For many entrepreneurship researchers, Schumpeter is God and every now and then they meet and rub shoulders in the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. The 13th ISS conference just ended in Denmark. Even though many of the paper titles are so pretentious that you know an economist came up with it there is some interesting stuff. Mark Knell, Norwegian Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education discusses whether Schumpeter is a Schumpeterian or not. Here is the abstract:

“To be Schumpeterian does not mean that the analysis follows directly from that of Schumpeter, but it should resemble the arguments made by Joseph Schumpeter in some way. Yet many of the ideas described as Schumpeterian are often far from what he actually said. This is especially the case with many ‘heterodox’ economists, mainly those interested in industrial organization, evolutionary theory, and economic development, who claim that Schumpeter makes a radical departure from mainstream neoclassical theory. But is it also the case among many ‘orthodox’ economists, mainly those that place Schumpeter in with contemporary neoclassical economists, which are different from the early neoclassical economist that influenced Schumpeter, such as Alfred Marshall, Karl Menger, and Léon Walras. Both groups see Schumpeter as being ‘evolutionary’ without much concern for what evolutionary really means beyond the idea that the technology changes over time. This essay will explore some important issues that are central to Schumpeter’s thought and are often described as Schumpeterian. It will focus in particular on the Walrasian foundations of Schumpeter’s thought and how he extended this theory to include changing technology and the role of finance in this process. A secondary focus will be placed on the idea of the entrepreneur as innovator and the manager as financier. The paper will also assess how important the Walrasian foundations are for his theory as well as other important influences on this thought.”

This paper point out the problem with equating social innovation with social entrepreneurship. Knell writes:

“Schumpeter specifically focused on what would happen when the technical alternatives would change without explain what makes it change”

Bubba and I both agree that in order to understand entrepreneurship we must look beyond the innovation and its outcomes. However, for Schumpeter the source of the innovation is some magic impulse that just hit people. Here is the entire paper.



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