martes, 21 de agosto de 2012

J.A. Schumpeter (desde su biografía - 10)


“The core of Business Cycles is its copious detail about the flowering of business systems in Britain, Germany and especially the United States. Schumpeter focuses on companies in five industries that led economic development: cotton textiles, railroads, steel, automobiles, and electric power. He also emphasizes three institutional innovations crucial to the rise of capitalism: the factory, the corporation, and the modern financial system.

He begins by setting firth a general theory of capitalist evolution that comes near to being an allegory. In his model, recurring “Innovation” propels the economy, which exists in a state of constant tumult. “New Men” or “Entrepreneurs,” operating within “New Firms,” drive innovation. (Like many other writers of the time, Schumpeter capitalizes some of his key terms.) All companies react “adaptively” to change, but creative “responses” come only from innovative acts by entrepreneurs. Their innovations can take many forms: for example, “the case of a new commodity,” “a new form of organization such as a merger,” and “the opening up of new markets.” Innovating firms do not arise evenly throughout the economy. Instead, groups of these firms emerge just after an organizational or technological breakthrough in a particular industry –either in that same industry or in others allied to it.

Meanwhile, powerful elements of society resist major innovations, because they tend to wreak havoc on existing arrangements. As a result, “the history of capitalism is studded with violent bursts and catastrophes.” It is no gentle process of adjustment but something “more like a series of explosions.” The building of a railroad where none had existed, for example, “upsets all conditions of location, all cost calculations, all production functions within its radius of influence.” Innovation, then, is very much a doubled-bladed sword.”

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