jueves, 6 de septiembre de 2012

J.A. Schumpeter (desde su biografía - 20)


“The reader of these passages should make no mistake about the radical nature of what Schumpeter is asserting. He is indicting his own economics profession for what amounts to a capital crime: failing to acknowledge that continuous innovation is “endogenous to” (inherent in) capitalism. If this one conceptual alteration were adopted in orthodox economics, then a whole series of methodological shifts would ensue. To the extent that economists become more focused on change, they would pay more attention to the record of change. They would have to pursue a much more thorough investigation of economic and business history, as Schumpeter himself had done in Business Cycles. And against that historical background, they would recognize that large-scale units of control were not merely to be tolerated as necessary evils. Instead, they would see big business as part and parcel of “the most powerful engine of [economic] progress and in particular of the long-run expansion of total output” that the world had ever witnessed.

Schumpeter then returns to the question of monopoly, mounting an attack on many American’s mistaken idea that monopoly and big business are the same thing. The word monopoly itself, he says, is a label “sure to rouse the public’s hostility” because of its association with privileges bestowed by British kings during America’s colonial period. Then, too, the evils of monopoly had been invoked by scores of American statesmen, from Andrew Jackson to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and now by Franklin D. Roosevelt. But under modern capitalism, long-run cases of monopoly are almost nonexistent –even rarer than instances of perfect competition. Hence, high entrepreneurial profits are always temporary. And on balance, big business is unquestionably a positive force for innovation and growth.

It was perverse, Schumpeter believed, that so many people in the United States had confused monopoly with big business and made the latter into a whipping boy. The country was, after all, the seedbed of giant firms. Because of its huge internal market and its entrepreneurial culture, it was the home of about a half of the world’s largest companies. Schumpeter felt very strongly about this issue, even more so than he reveals in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. And he believed that he had found a psychological reason for it. As he wrote in his diary: “American opinion is so anti big business precisely because big business has made the country what it now is and in doing so it has set the secret standard of the American soul: who is no part of big bus., feels he does not meet the standard and by compensation turns against it.”

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