Social Economics: Premises, Findings and Policies

By Edward J.O'Boyle | Go to book overview

PART II

On producing efficiently, turning a profit, and investing it

Schumpeter's position on the priority of investment over savings is patently clear, although unlike Keynes and Robinson he neither wished to be a rebel nor to reject the classical tradition of self-regulation. Nevertheless, to him the funds (savings, financial capital) are not prior; rather, the process of change originates on the investment side with the innovating entrepreneur. The economic system accommodates the entrepreneur by creating the funds. History illustrates lack of development when change is started on the funding side. Iberia's development in the 16th and 17th centuries, for example, was retarded rather than quickened by the expansion of new circulating media flowing in from Mexico and Peru. Inflationary influence from new precious metal is almost wholly destructive… Producers and investors, not savers or consumers, are the key to development. They initiate the process and typically work out the funding. This is often a difficult task, but bankers cooperate by forcing saving. Producers proceed when they get funds to force new products upon the consumers, who typically resist them.

(William R. Waters (1988) "Social Economics: A Solidarist Perspective," Review of Social Economy, October: 124)

The most interesting part of "Can Capitalism Survive?" [cf. Swedberg, Joseph Schumpeter, the Economics and Sociology of Capitalism] is why capitalism succeeded in the first place. The answer is threefold: because it is built on the profit system; because of the way it selects its leaders, and, finally, because it is free.

(William R. Waters (1991/1992) "Schumpeter The Sociologist-A Review Article," Forum for Social Economics, Fall/Spring: 56)

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