Schumpeter on Public Choice

Joseph Schumpeter is best known for his theory of creative destruction and his overarching emphasis on economic change and dynamism. But he also knew a bit about human nature. While the public choice movement didn’t get started until after his 1950 death, Schumpeter had enough common sense to prefigure its view of politics without romance. He shows this in the final footnote on page 433 of his posthumously published History of Economic Analysis:

[T]he state (government, politicians, and bureaucrats) is not something to philosophize on or to adore but something to be analyzed as realistically as we analyze, e.g., any industry.

This is a wise insight that more analysts would do well to take to heart.


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