Monday, April 02, 2007

Schumpeter's Business Cycles

Business Cycles was Joseph Schumpeter’s least successful book, measured by its professed aims and several other yardsticks. Yet the book has two vital aspects that have largely been overlooked. First, the prodigious research that went into its writing caused a significant change in Schumpeter’s thinking about capitalism. It moved him to a more historical and empirical approach that shaped nearly all his subsequent work. And second, much of the book constitutes a preview of modern, rigorous business history. This article explores both of these elements—not in the spirit of rescuing a neglected classic, because the book is not a classic. Instead, Business Cycles is a noble failure that paid unexpected dividends both to the author and to scholarship.
Schumpeter's Business Cycles as Business History