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Friday, March 7, 2014

Joseph Schumpeter’s Concept of Entrepreneurship and Combinations



Joseph Schumpeter was an outstanding economist that immigrated to the U.S. Many of his works were not mathematical like other economists but he did delve into the economy as a complete economic system. His work has led to new ways of thinking about the economy as a system and offered a greater understanding of creative destruction and entrepreneurship as part of the economic model. 

He believed that entrepreneurship is an important part of the economic system. These difficult to account for innovations result from companies that have the ability to research important product improvements.  Innovative improvements are a force that changes the market and allows some companies to earn higher levels of revenue for a time until their products are copied by others. The innovative process is needed to maintain new products and a market leading position. 

He outlined his theory in the book Theory of Economic Development (1911) and maintained the fundamentals throughout his life. He believed development is not possible without new products and services. He outlined his concept of innovation through a idea called combination that includes (pg. 66):

1) The introduction of a new good, not yet familiar or of a new quality of good.
2) The introduction of a new method of production.
3) The opening of a new market.
4) The conquest of a new source of supply of raw materials.
5) The carrying out of a new organization of any industry, like the creation of a monopoly position or the breaking up of a monopoly position.

Those creating the combinations are called entrepreneurs. They can be within a company or have their own business. They take information, connect it to new uses, and develop products. Economic development comes from this process of finding new sources of knowledge and putting them to productive use. 

As markets change and adjust there are cycles of destruction and creation. War, famine, political forces, scarcity and much more cause the constant need for change to seek a system in equilibrium. Large adjustments can cause pain but can also put a system on a higher plane of existence. Without pressure to change, few things will develop and the economy will become stagnant.

Schumpeter, J.A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Oxford University Press, New
York.

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