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Quotes of the day: Joseph Schumpeter

Published Sunday, February 07, 2016 @ 7:17 PM EST
Feb 07 2016

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (German: [February 8, 1883 – January 8, 1950)[1] was an Austrian-born American economist and political scientist. He briefly served as Finance Minister of Austria in 1919. In 1932 he became a professor at Harvard University where he remained until the end of his career. One of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Schumpeter popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it.

Capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.

Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political - legislative and administrative - decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself.

Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil.

Entrepreneurial profit is the expression of the value of what the entrepreneur contributes to production.

Geniuses and prophets do not usually excel in professional learning, and their originality, if any, is often due precisely to the fact that they do not.

History is a record of 'effects' the vast majority of which nobody intended to produce.

Innovation is the market introduction of a technical or organisational novelty, not just its invention.

Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with staying in the saddle that they can't bother about where they're going.

Situations emerge in the process of creative destruction in which many firms may have to perish that nevertheless would be able to live on vigorously and usefully if they could weather a particular storm.

Success depends on intuition, on seeing what afterwards proves true but cannot be established at the moment.

Surely, nothing can be more plain or even more trite common sense than the proposition that innovation... is at the center of practically all the phenomena, difficulties, and problems of economic life in capitalist society.

The ballot is stronger than bullets.

The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stocking for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for a steadily decreasing amount of effort.

The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.

The modern mind dislikes gold because it blurts out unpleasant truths.

The stock exchange is a poor substitute for the Holy Grail.

The typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way which he would readily recognize as infantile within the sphere of his real interests. He becomes primitive again.

We always plan too much and always think too little.


(February 8 is also the birthday of John Ruskin, Jules Verne, and Abraham Lincoln.)

Categories: Joseph Schumpeter, Quotes of the day


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