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Marx and Schumpeter: A Comparison of their Theories of Development


  • Eric Rahim


This paper challenges Paul Samuelson's claim that the development theories of Marx and Schumpeter have little in common. There are indeed broad similarities between the two theories, arising principally from Schumpeter's use of Marx's method (with some interesting modifications), which he calls the 'economic interpretation of history'. This discussion leads us to ask if we can incorporate into Marx's method some of the insights suggested by Schumpeter's modifications. We show that Marx's method is enriched by the insertion into it of an explicit, although limited, role of the individual (human agency). The paper then turns to the differences between the two theories, concerning the theory of value and the analysis of social classes. We find an unresolved tension in Schumpeter's system of thought, between his attempt to construct a model of a dynamic, evolving economy on Marxian lines (albeit an alternative to Marx's model), and his emphasis on the role of the individual, which he inserts into an essentially static, Walrasian model.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Rahim, 2009. "Marx and Schumpeter: A Comparison of their Theories of Development," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 51-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:21:y:2009:i:1:p:51-83
    DOI: 10.1080/09538250802516982

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    Cited by:

    1. Bögenhold, Dieter & Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Papageorgiou, Theofanis, 2016. "Schumpeter, Veblen and Bourdieu on Institutions and the Formation of Habits," MPRA Paper 74585, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Janne Kurtakko, 2014. "Schumpeter's Challenge to Economists: History, Theory, and Statistics as Key Competencies and Sociology as a Vision for the Future," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(1), pages 32-57, January.

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