The Magazine

Mr. Creative Destruction

Joseph Schumpeter and the truth about capitalism.

May 28, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 35 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
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When Schumpeter died in 1950, the world's best-known economist, newspapers around the world carried lengthy obituaries. When I asked some of the economists I know, who vary in age from 30 to over 60, whether they had studied Schumpeter in graduate school, all but one replied, "No." Only half-jokingly, one explained, "We don't really read books in graduate school, and certainly not histories of non-economic topics. Mostly we study formulas and graphs."

Dismal science, indeed--and too bad. We need more economists who can grapple with the big questions of capitalism and its development. As Schumpeter recognized, man affects economics and economics affects man.

Kevin R. Kosar is a writer in Washington.