The Nature and Essence of Economic Theory
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The long paper which gives the title to this collection and which has never before been published as paperback was initially an attempt to promote international academic understanding. The Economics Department at the London School of Economics had arranged a colloquy between two groups of Russian and British economists; and where the author asked to contribute a general survey of the present state of economic theory as taught in Western centers. For reasons, which are explained in the opening section, the author decided to adopt an historical approach; and the notes on which the present paper is based were the result

In addition to the major themes of his life---the place of the entrepreneur in economic development, the risks and rewards of innovation, business cycles and why they occur, and the evolution of capitalism in Europe and America---the essays contain statements on how Schumpeter viewed his own development. They discuss how he looked at Marxism, and how he feared that economics was in danger of becoming too ideological. Several of the essays are classics. In this new edition, Schumpeter's Essays can finally be read with the enjoyment and enlightenment they deserve. The volume is alive to the basic issues of our time.

In this classical analysis of capitalist society, Schumpeter argues that economics is a natural self-regulating mechanism when undisturbed by "social and other meddlers." His preface shows that despite weaknesses, theories are based on logic and provide structure for understanding fact. In his substantial new introduction, John E. Elliott discusses the salient ideas of the Theory of Economic Development against the historical background of three great periods of economic thought of the twentieth century.

In a tribute to Joseph A. Schumpeter, a great figure in the history and development of economics, this work brings together for publication his brilliantly crafted lectures delivered more than a century ago. In The Nature and Essence of Economic Theory, now available for the first time in the English language, the reader will find absolute dedication to the search for an economic science, apart from and in rejection of moral or political dogma.

The Nature and Essence of Economic Theory works out what people should think of pure economics, what its nature is, what its methods and findings are, and where thought takes off from there. The book shows the limitations and weaknesses of nineteenth-century economics and how the field could be and was improved. To convey his arguments, Schumpeter uses certain axioms that form a consistent, self-contained system and show its value, and also how far a sound economics is based on facts and events rather than presuppositions or definitions. Schumpeter, along with others, introduced a fundamental differentiation between "statics" and "dynamics" in the economy.

Schumpeter's larger aim, beyond a pedagogic tool, was to deduce changes of the events in the market, trade, and exchange of goods and services. He called his equilibrium model "explanation" in a world without undue surprises. He defined the task of economy as the description of the system and its change tendencies. If that can be achieved unequivocally, without resorting to doctrine or dogma, then the field can be considered self-contained.
Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950) was professor of economics at the University of Graz and at Bonn. He also served as Austrian minister of finance. He later moved to the United States where he taught at Harvard University until his death. His works include Business Cycles, History of Economic Analysis, and Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.
Bruce A. McDaniel is professor of economics at the University of Northern Colorado. He is the author of several journal articles and Entrepreneurship and Innovation: An Economic Approach