Joseph Schumpeter

Joseph Schumpeter • schumpeter portrait

Joseph Schumpeter was without a doubt one of the most notable economists of the 20th century. He studied under Friedrich von Wieser and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, and thereby developing a knowledge of and connection to the Austrian School of Economics, which would last for his whole life. Schumpeter taught at numerous universities, such as Graz, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.

He first gained international recognition with his “Theory of Economic Development”, in which he elaborated the central position of entrepreneurship for economic progress. By continually striving to improve on already existing solutions, entrepreneurs become both the creators and bearers of “Creative Destruction”, an idea whose relative unpopularity is directly proportional to its veracity, since it has made (and hopefully will continue to make) societies richer and more prosperous.

Schumpeter’s late work “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” sparked great debate and controversy, in which he foresees how and why capitalism might collapse. The fact that we are still living in a predominately capitalist society nowadays and that capitalism – since the breakdown of the Soviet Union – is largely viewed as the only viable economic system known to man at this time, would certainly have made Schumpeter happy.