Thought for the Day: Schumpeter on Capitalism’s Success

From Joseph Schumpeter’s classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy—a healthy reminder in the age of so-called “ESG” capitalism:

There are no doubt some things available to the modern workman that Louis XIV himself would have delighted to have yet was unable to have—modern dentistry for instance. On the whole, however, a budget on that level had little that really mattered to gain from capitalist achievement. Even speed of traveling may be assumed to have been a minor consideration for so very dignified as gentleman. Electric lighting is no great boon to anyone who has money enough to but a sufficient number of candles and to pay servants to attend to them. It is the cheap cloth, the cheap cotton and rayon fabrics, boots, motorcars and so on that are the typical achievements of capitalist production, and not as a rule improvements that would mean much to the rich man. Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement doe snot typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.

If Schumpeter were alive today, I suspect he’d include crypto-currency as a perversion of capitalism, since generating cheaper NFTs and other intangibles for the masses doesn’t appear to be the primary product of things like FTX.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.