Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development
Edited by Yuichi Shionoya and Tamotsu Nishizawa
Chapter 1: Schumpeter and Evolution: An Ontological Exploration
Yuichi Shionoya 1.1 INTRODUCTION Schumpeter introduced the ideas of innovation, development and evolution in his Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (1912). In the ﬁnal chapter (chapter 7) on the ‘Overall view of the economy’ (Das Gesamtbild der Volkswirtschaft), he located the economy in the wider context of social life and attempted to provide a comprehensive vision of the evolution of society as a whole, which was to be addressed by a universal social science, covering such areas as the economy, politics, social relations, the arts, science and morality. His argument in this chapter oﬀers an important viewpoint on a comprehensive grasp of social phenomena, applying the static–dynamic dichotomy of human beings to all these areas and gaining a picture of the overall evolution of society through interactions between them.1 Recent works on evolutionary economics, sometimes labelled ‘neoSchumpeterian economics’, are largely conﬁned to the studies of economic development and technological change. They seem to start from Schumpeter’s English version The Theory of Economic Development (1934), which is the abridged translation of the second German edition (1926) and does not include chapter 7 of the ﬁrst edition. Compared with Schumpeter’s original view of sociocultural development, the current conception of evolution is narrow for two reasons: the lack of the sociological perspective and of the philosophical foundations (Shionoya, 2007). This chapter attempts a return to Schumpeter’s original view of the evolution of society as a whole and explores the ontological foundations of his conception of evolution. It is widely acknowledged that...
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