IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/uct/uconnp/2002-19.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Schumpeter and the Obsolescence of the Entrepreneur

Author

Listed:
  • Richard N. Langlois

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

The English-language literature of technological change is one of the few areas of economic writing in which Joseph Schumpeter has maintained a following and in which he has been accorded some modicum of the attention he deserves. There has grown up within this literature a standard interpretation of Schumpeter's famous assertion that progress will eventually come to be 'mechanized'. The conventional wisdom goes something like this. The argument in Schumpeter's early writings by which writers invariably mean the 1934 English translation of The Theory of Economic Development -- is really quite different from that in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. There are, in effect, two Schumpeters: an 'early' Schumpeter and a 'later' Schumpeter. It was the former who believed in the importance of bold entrepreneurs, while the latter envisaged their demise and replacement by a bureaucratized mode of economic organization. Moreover, the reason Schumpeter changed his views is that he was reacting to the historical development of capitalism as he saw it taking place around him. As he moved from the world of owner-managed firms in early twentieth-century Europe to the world of large American corporations in the 1930s and 1940s, his opinions changed appropriately. The paper attempts to make two points. The first is that, as a doctrinal matter, the 'two Schumpeters' thesis, as it is understood in the Anglo-American literature on technological change, is clearly wrong. Equally wrong is the idea that the fundamentals of Schumpeter's thought on entrepreneurship were influenced importantly by any observation of large firms in the United States after 1931. Schumpeter's ideas were remarkably consistent from at least 1926 (five years before he came to the U. S.) until his death. The obsolescence thesis speaks to a distinction between early capitalism and later capitalism, perhaps, but not to an earlier and later Schumpeter. The second, and more important, point is that the obsolescence thesis is wrong. It rests on a confusion -- or perhaps a bait-and-switch -- between two quite different kinds of economic knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard N. Langlois, 2002. "Schumpeter and the Obsolescence of the Entrepreneur," Working papers 2002-19, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2002-19
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2002-19.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bormotov, Michael, 2010. "Modern Knowledge Based Economy: all-factors endogenous growth model and total investment allocation," MPRA Paper 19932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bormotov, Michael, 2009. "Economic cycles: historical evidence, classification and explication," MPRA Paper 19616, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Les Oxley & Shangqin Hong & Philip McCann, 2013. "Why Size Maters: Investigating the Drivers of Innovation and Economic Performance in New Zealand using the Business Operation Survey," Working Papers in Economics 13/13, University of Waikato.
    4. Federica Saliola & Antonello Zanfei, 2007. "Multinational firms, global value chains and the organization of technology transfer," Working Papers 0710, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2007.
    5. Heinz Kurz, 2012. "Schumpeter’s new combinations," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(5), pages 871-899, November.
    6. Anthony Endres & Christine Woods, 2010. "Schumpeter’s ‘conduct model of the dynamic entrepreneur’: scope and distinctiveness," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 583-607, August.
    7. Forero, Clemente & Corredor, Sandra & Forero, Nohora, 2010. "Business Networks and Innovation in SMEs of a Developing Country," Galeras. Working Papers Series 027, Universidad de Los Andes. Facultad de Administración. School of Management.
    8. Sophie Boutillier, 2008. "The Russian Entrepreneur Today: Elements of Analysis of the Socialized Entrepreneur," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 131-154.
    9. Saliola, Federica & Zanfei, Antonello, 2009. "Multinational firms, global value chains and the organization of knowledge transfer," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 369-381, March.
    10. Marín, Alejandra & Laureiro, Daniela & Forero, Clemente, 2007. "Innovation patterns and intellectual property in SMEs of a developing country," Galeras. Working Papers Series 017, Universidad de Los Andes. Facultad de Administración. School of Management.
    11. Ferlito, Carmelo, 2015. "Entrepreneurship: State of grace or human action? Schumpeter’s leadership vs Kirzner’s alertness," MPRA Paper 67694, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2002-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark McConnel). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deuctus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.