miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2012

J.A. Schumpeter (desde su biografía - 19)


“In real life, anything approaching perfect competition is extremely rare.

Instead, much of modern business in advanced industrial countries has evolved into a form of organization known as “oligopoly.” This word was introduced by Sir Thomas More in Utopia (1516), then revived 410 years later by Schumpeter’s Harvard colleague E.H. Chamberlin. It now refers to industries in which a small number of large and powerful firms compete with one another in the same line of business: oil, steel, automobiles, chemicals, and a few others. Most of these companies are engaged in mass production, mass distribution, or both; and they often require very large capital investments. In oligopolies, Schumpeter writes, “there is in fact no determinate equilibrium at all and the possibility presents itself that there may be and endless sequence of moves and countermoves, an indefinite state of warfare between firms.” Hence the analogy with military strategy. But these new situations –like others aspects of Schumpeter’s theories, such as the pivotal importance of entrepreneurship- do not easily lend themselves to equilibrium analysis and to mathematical modeling.

One result of the alternative approach Schumpeter proposes would be a sharper focus on product quality and marketing as elements of competition. This new perspective would reduce what had been an overwhelming emphasis on the analysis of price. “In capitalist reality as distinguished from its textbook picture, it is not [that kind of] competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization.” This kind of competition “strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.” It is effective even “when it is merely an ever-present threat. It disciplines before it attacks.” A theoretical analysis that “neglects this essential element of the case neglects all that is most typically capitalist about it; even if correct in logic as well as in fact, it is like Hamlet without the Danish prince.”

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