My Paper Schumpeterian Enigmas Is Now Available on SSRN

I have just posted a paper I started writing in 2007 after reading Thomas McCraw’s excellent biography of Joseph Schumpeter, Prophet of Innovation. The paper, almost entirely written in 2007, lay unfinished until a few months ago, when I finally figured out how to conclude the paper. I greatly benefited from the comments and encouragement of David Laidler, R. G. Lipsey and Geoff Harcourt in its final stages.

The paper can be accessed or downloaded here.

Here is the abstract:

Drawing on McCraw’s (2007) biography, this paper assesses the character of Joseph Schumpeter. After a biographical summary of Schumpeter’s life and career as an economist, the paper considers a thread of deliberate posturing and pretense in Schumpeter’s grandiose ambitions and claims about himself. It also takes account of his ambiguous political and moral stance in both his personal, public and scholarly lives, in particular his tenure as finance minister in the short-lived German Socialist government after World War I and his famous prediction of the ultimate demise of capitalism in his celebrated Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Although he emigrated to the US in the 1930s Schumpeter was suspected of harboring pro-German or even pro-Nazi sympathies during World War II, sympathies that are at least partially confirmed by the letters and papers discussed at length by McCraw. Moreover, despite Schumpeter’s support for his student Paul Samuelson, when Samuelson, owing to anti-Semitic prejudice, was rejected for a permanent appointment at Harvard, Samuelson himself judged Schumpeter to have been antisemitic. Nevertheless, despite his character flaws, Schumpeter exhibited a generosity of spirit in his assessments of the work of other economists in his last and greatest work The History of Economic Analysis, a work also exhibiting uncharacteristic self-effacement by its author. That self-effacement may beattributable to Schumpeter’s own tragic and largely unrealized ambition to achieve the technical analytical breakthroughs to which he accorded highest honors in his assessments of the work of other economists, notably, Quesnay, Cournot and Walras.


7 Responses to “My Paper Schumpeterian Enigmas Is Now Available on SSRN”

  1. 1 Henry Rech September 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm


    Thank you for making available a very readable and absorbing account of Schumpeter the man and the academic.


  2. 2 marcel proust September 18, 2020 at 8:15 am

    (I think I’ll go ALL CAPS on you here)!!!

    RE: Your abstrace

    “Although he emigrated to the US … ” NO WAY, NO HOW.



    (and finally)


    You are better than that. Trust me. I know.


  3. 3 marcel proust September 18, 2020 at 8:16 am

    abstrace s/b abstract (So distraught, I can’t see straight to proof my own copy)!


  4. 4 David Glasner September 18, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Dear M. Proust: I am honored to be considered worthy of having my English corrected by someone of your eminence. I’ll try to live up to your expectations in the future.




  5. 5 Henry Rech September 18, 2020 at 5:09 pm


    I don’t think you should concede so easily to M. Proust. 🙂

    It seems to me “emigrate” was correct usage.

    You were dealing with Schumpeter’s life in Germany and then he emigrated from Germany to the US. The “from Germany” is understood given the context.


  6. 6 David Glasner September 27, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for coming to my aid once again, Henry, as you have done so often. Here’s what the grammarly blog has to say about emigrate versus immigrate
    The Meaning of Emigrate

    Emigrate is not an alternative spelling of immigrate. Emigrate means to leave a place, such as a country of origin, to settle in another location. Here are some examples. To best understand them, remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger emigrated from Austria to the United States.

    So it seems that I do have some authority (you and the grammarly blog) to support my use of emigrate.


  1. 1 Nightcap | Notes On Liberty Trackback on September 16, 2020 at 8:17 pm

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About Me

David Glasner
Washington, DC

I am an economist in the Washington DC area. My research and writing has been mostly on monetary economics and policy and the history of economics. In my book Free Banking and Monetary Reform, I argued for a non-Monetarist non-Keynesian approach to monetary policy, based on a theory of a competitive supply of money. Over the years, I have become increasingly impressed by the similarities between my approach and that of R. G. Hawtrey and hope to bring Hawtrey’s unduly neglected contributions to the attention of a wider audience.

My new book Studies in the History of Monetary Theory: Controversies and Clarifications has been published by Palgrave Macmillan

Follow me on Twitter @david_glasner


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