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Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy 2nd Edition Hardcover – 1947


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harper; Later Printing edition (1947)
  • ASIN: B000MCXMOM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,706,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I'm much too uneducated for this read.
pipedream
I strongly recommend that Tom Bottemore's excellent Introduction be read and then re-read at least once more before anyone proceeds into the Schumpeter text.
Robert Morris
Economist Joseph A. Schumpeter's keen intellect makes some of today's scholarship sound like the spouting of ideology on talk shows.
Rolf Dobelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Greg Nyquist VINE VOICE on November 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most important books on Capitalism ever written. Unlike most economists, Schumpeter's knowledge and understanding of the sociological & political sides of the capitalist process was just as profound as was his knowledge and understanding of the economic side. Consequently, he presents a more well-rounded view of Capitalism than we usually get from the typical one-dimensional type of economist.
Most economists commit the fatal error of regarding capitalism as a mere economic phenomenon, explicable by economic laws alone. But this view is palpably erroneous. Capitalism both influences and is influenced by political and sociological factors. Any account of the Capitalist system which ignores these non-economic factors must be regarded as short-sighted and incomplete.
This book is probably most famous (or most infamous, depending on your point of view) for its prediction (circa. 1942) that capitalism would eventually be replaced by some form of socialism. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the revival of market economics in East Asia and South America, it might appear that Schumpeter's prediction has been refuted. But this conclusion would be premature and superficial. Keep in mind Schumpeter's broad vision of capitalism. For Schumpeter, capitalism is much more than a free market acting under the guidance of supply and demand and consumer sovereignty. In Schumpeter's vision, capitalism is entire order of civilization, embracing the old-fashioned "bourgeois" code of ethics (see Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" for a concrete illustration of bourgeois civilization) and entrepreneurial innovation (or "creative destruction," as Schumpeter calls it in his famous theory of the business cycle).
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Many summers ago while I was taking supplementary graduate courses in comparative literature, a classmate suggested that I read this book. I had not previously heard of it. It was somewhat tough going, in part because I lacked understanding of an appropriate frame-of-reference within which to absorb and digest Schumpeter's ideas. Recently, I re-read it. To paraphrase Mark Twain, it is amazing how much Schumpeter has learned over the years. I strongly recommend that Tom Bottemore's excellent Introduction be read and then re-read at least once more before anyone proceeds into the Schumpeter text. It certainly would have been very helpful to my first reading. The 28 chapters are organized as follows:
Part I: The Marxian Doctrine
Part II: Can Capitalism Survive?
Part III: Can Socialism Work
Part IV: Socialism and Democracy
Part V: A Historical Sketch of Socialist Parties
Obviously, the world which Schumpeter surveyed more than 50 years ago has undergone significant changes. (This book was first published in the US in 1942; a revised second edition appeared in 1957; and an expanded third edition appeared in 1950, the year in which he died.) Nonetheless, after a recent re-reading of the book, I am amazed at how stable its intellectual infrastructure remains. Bottomore explains the book's continuing appeal to readers "by the fact that it undertakes a serious and thorough examination of the great social transition of the present age, from capitalism to socialism, (and prefaces this with an illuminating critical appraisal of Marx's theory, as the only social analysis of the transition that merits attention) rather than by the kind of judgement that it makes about the consequences of this process of social transformation.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Max More on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This classic book by economist Joseph Schumpeter originally came out in three editions in 1942, 1945, and 1950. The current 1984 edition begins with a helpful introduction by Tom Bottomore. The entire book is well worth reading if you have the time for some substantial thinking about economics, politics, and history on a grand scale. However, Schumpeter's half-century old tome has recently come back into vogue as everyone is picking up his term "creative destruction". Schumpeter, coming from the Austrian school of economics, focused on processes rather than states, making his thinking different from that of other economists of his time and for decades after. His notion of creative destruction perfectly fits as a description of what is happening in the new economy, as new technologies and business models and architectures are simultaneously destroying old sources of value while creating new opportunities for profit.
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171 of 211 people found the following review helpful By E. Husman on January 25, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to read this book because I wanted to pursue the idea of "creative destruction" to its source. However, Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (CS&D) was not what I expected. Though Schumpeter is frequently associated with the Austrian School of Economics, he left early on to pursue a different agenda.
CS&D is an extended defense of Marx's conclusion that capitalism would collapse on itself and be replaced with socialism, but without propagating Marx's errors. CS&D is written by someone with neoclassical economic training, including the marginalist revolution that refuted Ricardo's "Iron Law of Wages" which formed the basis of Marx's own system. Schumpeter states early on that the interesting part is not his conclusion, but rather the observations and arguments that support that conclusion.
In order to make his argument, Schumpeter introduces several ideas that will be at odds with common understanding. For example, many victims of one or two semesters of college economics will have noted that the atomistic theory of competition almost never holds true, so the seductive criticism that capitalism tends toward monopoly is easily accepted. Fortunately, Schumpeter makes a valiant early attempt at showing that this is not the easy argument that Marxists hoped it would be. Likewise, most of us have noted that democracy - except in Classical Greece and small towns in New England - is hardly ever practiced the way we were taught, where citizens guide public policy and politicians carry it out. Instead, Schumpeter reminds (or teaches) that democracy is commonly practiced as a competition among leaders for votes, and voters select the politician whose program most closely matches their idea of the "correct" mix of policies.
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