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de la nature de l’innovation (The nature of innovation)


  • Rémy Volpi

    () (labrii, ULCO)


Marx par la lutte des classes, Schumpeter par l’innovation, concluent que le capitalisme par nature s’autodétruit. Mais, alors que pour Marx le capitalisme rend les riches plus riches tandis que leurs rangs s’étiolent, et les pauvres plus pauvres et plus nombreux, pour Schumpeter, le capitalisme démocratise la consommation. Et pour Galbraith, l’opulence est réelle, mais obtenue au prix de l’instrumentalisation du consommateur. D’autres auteurs imaginent que pour faire reprendre des couleurs à un capitalisme anémié, il faut investir l’argent des contribuables dans le complexe militaroindustriel, afin de susciter des percées technologiques qui généreront des produits dont nous n’avons aucune idée mais dont le grand public raffolera. En fait, la nature de l’innovation n’est pas technologique mais sociétale : sinon, comment comprendre le succès de Coca-Cola, McDonald’s ou Starbucks ? Le succès de Ford ou d’Edison trouve son origine dans une vision sociétale. Nous ne savons pas ce que nous voulons, mais l’innovateur sait ce que allons vouloir. Marx through class-struggle, Schumpeter through innovation, concluded that capitalism is inherently self-destructive. But whereas for Marx capitalism makes the rich richer and fewer and the poor poorer and more numerous, for Schumpeter, capitalism democratises consumption. And for Galbraith, affluent society is real, but gained through subduing the consumers. Other authors fancy that for a languid capitalism to regain health, it is relevant to invest taxpayers’ money into the military-industrial complex, so as to generate technological breakthroughs that will make products we have by now no clue of available to the public. Hence capitalism is likely to get rosier colours. In fact the nature of innovation is not technological but societal: if not, how to understand the success of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or Starbucks? The success of Ford or Edison is rooted into their societal insights. We do not know for sure what we want, but the innovator knows what we shall like

Suggested Citation

  • Rémy Volpi, 2006. "de la nature de l’innovation (The nature of innovation)," Working Papers 133, Laboratoire de Recherche sur l'Industrie et l'Innovation. ULCO / Research Unit on Industry and Innovation.
  • Handle: RePEc:rii:riidoc:133

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    More about this item


    innovation; societal innovation; technologie innovation; capitalism;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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