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J. A. Schumpeter


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A Moravian historical economist, whose interdisciplinary work addresses issues of interest to sociologists, and who taught throughout the Habsburg Empire, Germany, and the United States. Schumpeter himself saw sociology and economics as complementary disciplines, and often wrote about subjects which are today considered to lie within the province of the former, for example social class and imperialism.

Like both Karl Marx and Max Weber, Schumpeter was interested in the origins and development of the capitalist system, and attached similar importance to the profit-generating and risk-taking entrepreneurs who pioneered new products and techniques. This, together with his interest in the links between business cycle theory and capital formation, are characteristic features of the Austrian School of Economics—of which Schumpeter can therefore be seen as a direct descendant. His books included Theory of Economic Development (1912), Business Cycles (1939), and the best-selling Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942). In the last of these, Schumpeter warned against both the tendency for entrepreneurs to be replaced by a more conservative class of industrial administrators, and the necessity of economic planning to encourage socialism. See also imperialism.

Subjects: Social sciences

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