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Power And Entrepreneurship In German Political Economy: The Cases Of Werner Sombart And Friedrich Von Wieser

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  • Gilles Campagnolo

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  • Christel Vivel

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Abstract

In the present paper we are going to examine texts by Werner Sombart and Friedrich von Wieser on entrepreneurship and the capitalist economy using an interdisciplinary approach focused on economics but also dealing with economic sociology and political philosophy. We believe that both authors have been largely neglected, thus overlooking the main source of the theory of the entrepreneur in debates held in German language and between Germany and Austria around the 1900s. Without excluding earlier major references (such as Jean-Baptiste Say, the first French economist at the Collège de France) we shall demonstrate that for both our authors the entrepreneur is the keystone of a renewed understanding of capitalism and the modern economy of their times. They stressed the origins, functions and roles of the entrepreneur and showed that there cannot exist only a single entrepreneurial form but there must necessarily be several ones, depending on the context. Two lessons can be drawn from their texts: 1/ the entrepreneur’s action needs to be reinstalled in the social, economic and institutional context; 2/ the results of the actions of entrepreneurs are inherently difficult to predict because the action responds to institutional changes and is the outcome of such changes.

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  • Gilles Campagnolo & Christel Vivel, 2011. "Power And Entrepreneurship In German Political Economy: The Cases Of Werner Sombart And Friedrich Von Wieser," ICER Working Papers 11-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:11-2011
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/icr/wp2011/ICERwp11-11.pdf
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    1. Robert Ekelund & Mark Thornton, 1987. "Wieser and the Austrian connection to social economics," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 16(2), pages 1-12, September.
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