Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 74: Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883–1950)
Life Joseph Alois Schumpeter (hereafter JAS) was born on 8 February 1883 in the little town of Triesch in Moravia (today Czech Republic) which at that time was part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. The family of his father had an entrepreneurial background in textile manufacturing and trade. After the early death of her husband, JAS’s mother Johanna moved to Graz, where she married the retired army general Sigmund von Kéler, whose social status was a major advantage for her gifted son: it opened the doors of the Theresianum, Austria’s elite grammar school for the offspring of the nobility, including the imperial family. JAS made good use of the Theresianum’s rich and demanding curriculum and the partly excellent teaching staff. He graduated not only with fluency in six languages, but with a remarkable degree of intellectual maturity. This was certainly a precondition for his subsequent successful study of economics at the University of Vienna. For students with a certain breadth and depth of education, this university was an excellent place for the study of economics, even though an official curriculum in economics did not exist at that time; economics was a part of the law curriculum. The professorial staff of the law faculty included the founding fathers of Austrian economics – Carl Menger, Friedrich von Wieser and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. The members of this triad of Austrian economics shared some basic tenets, but disagreed on substantial issues, such as the theory of capital and interest. Beyond that, the senior...
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