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Schumpeter's Theological Roots? Harnack and the origins of creative destruction


  • Paul Nightingale

    () (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK)


This short research note highlights the similarity between Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction and the work of his contemporary, the German theologian Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930). The note provides a brief over-view of Harnack’s concepts and terminology and highlights their similarity to Schumpeterian ideas about routinisation, charismatic entrepreneurial leadership, and creative destruction. While the evidence is far from conclusive it does suggests that the similarity merits closer attention that could potentially lead to changes to the received understanding of the theory of creative destruction. In particular, it suggests a need to potential reassess the position of Schumpeter within a wider Weberian tradition.

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  • Paul Nightingale, 2013. "Schumpeter's Theological Roots? Harnack and the origins of creative destruction," SPRU Working Paper Series 2013-15, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:2013-15

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    1. מחקר - ביטוח לאומי, 2004. "Volume 7," Working Papers 64, National Insurance Institute of Israel.
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    Schumpeter; Harnack; Qutb; Creative destruction;

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