martes, 28 de agosto de 2012

J.A. Schumpeter (desde su biografía - 13)


“But the shift did not come easily. A major theme of Business Cycles is the extreme difficulty of changing traditional ways of doing things. More than most analysts, Schumpeter emphasized that the destructive part of creative destruction has always been quite real, and he stressed that those whose interests are being destroyed will fight hard to preserve their culture and status. In Britain and elsewhere, small-scale craftsmen and their guilds had esteemed artistry, community, and tradition over low prices, increased output, and expanded exports. These predilections went back for centuries, and the only way to change them was through overwhelming economic defeat.

Entrenched interests fought tenaciously against mechanization and the factory system. Unlike the Prussian inventor of a ribbon-weaving loom, who was put to death in 1579 by order of the Danzig municipal authority, “Entrepreneurs were not necessarily strangled,” but “they were not infrequently in danger of their lives.” Craft guilds in Britain invoked medieval laws to prevent both outsiders and their own members from using innovative methods. They petitioned for regulations outlawing factories and particular mechanical devices. Schumpeter cites the Weavers Act of 1555 and a “royal proclamation which in 1624 directed that a new machine for the manufacture of needles be destroyed.” And regardless of what the law might allow at a particular time, craftsmen themselves continually smashed the new machines.

In response, British entrepreneurs often moved their factories out of guild-dominated towns. Operating in the countryside, they could proceed without the fetters of official repression and with the advantage of cheaper labor –although even here, in the new outputs, innovators had to “fix things” with local authorities. Yet, whatever the obstacles, in certain industries they were almost sure to win in the long term. Large-scale factory production offered more jobs for workers, cheaper goods for consumers, a richer tax base for governments, and a dominant foreign-trade position for Britain. In London, “the political world wavered in its attitude and motivation,” but soon business interest became a major force in politics; and by the eighteenth century, Parliament had largely submitted.”

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