Schumpeterin jäljillä

Tracing Schumpeter

The ran­ge of theories of self-organizing systems is the natural home for Joseph Schumpeter's notion Creative Destruction. Schumpeter used "biological mutation" as his key ana­logy. The historical trajector of biological systems cannot be accounted for by linear explanation. Yet, patterns of stability and instability do emerge, making possible an understanding of the appearance of novelty. That's the sort of thing that Schumpeter was groping towards. Using Schumpeter's lead, I characterize the historical self-organization of capitalism. The prevailing mode of ana­lyzing capitalism is confined to the metric of wealth. This becomes explicit when, for example, it's assumed that production possibility cur­ves have no theoretical upper bound. However, we ought to take seriously the existence of such bounds. As regards capitalism, the trick then is to imagine the retention of the metric of wealth under conditions where both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of growth have to be tightly controlled. Within a Smithean framework, this is well-nigh impossible. But the challenge is real; it remains to be seen what we can salvage of the way of life that we've destructively created.

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