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The Influence of the German Historical School on Schumpeter

Michaelides, Panayotis G. and Milios, John G. (2005): The Influence of the German Historical School on Schumpeter.

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Abstract

The present paper defends the thesis that Schumpeter formulated his research program and his main theses in accordance with the theoretical framework of the German Historical School, as expressed by major theoreticians such as Schmoller, Max Weber and Sombart. For instance, Schumpeter’s notion of development could be viewed in the context of the Schmollerian theoretical approach. Next, we compare, briefly, Schumpeter’s and Weber’s central visions emphasizing the role of the “entrepreneur”, the “circular flow” and the “protestant ethic” and the “spirit of capitalism” respectively. Finally, Schumpeter seems to follow Sombart in his “theoretical materialism”, and there is general agreement between the two theoreticians that capitalism was on the decline. However, the strongest parallels are to be found with respect to forces driving the process, at the end of which Schumpeter expected a socialist system, while Sombart expected a mixed economy. Also, several similarities can be found in their respective theses about the evolution of the capitalist enterprise and the role of technology. Τhe paper discusses, also, some of Schumpetr’s main differences of approach as to the German Historical School and concludes that the latter shall inspire further research and developments in Schumpeterian economics.

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