National Review , July 9, 2007 by Nick Schulz
EVERY few years, public interest in innovation and entrepreneurship undergoes something of a revival. We're in one of those periods.
Business pages brim with news of entrepreneurial returns to private equity firms and innovative financial engineering at hedge funds. A new wave of Internet start-ups, such as YouTube and MySpace, reminds the public that entrepreneurs keep creating the "new new thing" that can augment or transform existing business models. A bull market for stocks is renewing interest in financial news and information. George Gilder is once again--we can be thankful--writing big-think pieces about innovation.
Several new books are targeted at readers hungry for a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship. Carl Schramm's The Entrepreneurial Imperative makes a persuasive case for the importance of entrepreneurial dynamism to the long-run health of economies. (The Kauffman Foundation, of which Schramm is president, has done a great job in bolstering awareness of entrepreneurship.) Capital Ideas Evolving, by financial historian Peter L. Bernstein, explains how a new generation of financial entrepreneurs is harnessing academic theory to transform 21st-century Wall Street. There is even a movie: The stunning new film The Call of the Entrepreneur breathes cinematic life into a highly abstract concept.
All of these works find some of their inspiration in the writings of Joseph Schumpeter, the famous Austrian economist who is the subject of an extraordinary new biography. Prophet of Innovation by Thomas K. McCraw chronicles the life of one of the 20th century's most original and insightful scholars.
Like his contemporary and frequent rival John Maynard Keynes, Schumpeter makes for a rich biographical subject. Keynes received the treatment he deserved from Lord Robert Skidelsky's magisterial multi-volume biography. McCraw's effort, similarly, is worthy of Schumpeter.
Schumpeter's story was a rich pageant of both triumph and calamity. His life mirrored the capitalist process of incessant change and reinvention he sought to explicate. He was born in 1883 and lived through the implosion of imperial Europe, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the advent of the Cold War. He lived through a time when, as one historian put it, "the medieval and modern orders collided head-on."
His own life was marked by similar tumult. Schumpeter moved many times throughout his life, ultimately settling in the United States for a distinguished career at Harvard. He experienced alternating periods of soaring financial success and humiliating indebtedness. And his scholarly output was immense: He publishing several major papers and books, including Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, which remains a popular classic to this day.
He was an unabashed, even shameless, Lothario who bedded scores of women before he settled down. "Settling down" for Schumpeter, however, comprised three marriages that included a period of bigamy.
Schumpeter was unusually close to his mother, Johanna, an independent-minded and restless woman who pushed her son to develop intellectually. Her death in 1926 would have been devastating enough for Schumpeter; but it coincided with the death of his beloved second wife Annie, who perished during the birth of their first child. The baby also died, four hours after Schumpeter rushed him to a hospital after leaving his wife's deathbed.
Schumpeter's personal experiences molded his views about capitalism and politics and set him apart from some of his contemporaries. According to McCraw: Compared to Keynes, Schumpeter had no reason to think that life was something a person could expect to enjoy
automatically. It was one thing to grow up in Britain--stable, prosperous, and ever-victorious in its many wars--and quite another to be a child of the vanquished, and now vanished, Austria of
Schumpeter's youth. His own vision of life resembled his vision of capitalism as a perennial gale of creative destruction.... By the time he married [his third wife] Elizabeth Boody, he had lived in nine cities and five countries (seven countries by today's boundaries). He had relocated his household 23 times. No wonder his vision differed so thoroughly from that of the sedentary Keynes.
It was perhaps in part because of these circumstances that Schumpeter placed heavy emphasis on the importance of political stability. McCraw writes: "Because the maturing Schumpeter sensed that creative destruction in the economic sphere could be violently disruptive, he began to place a high premium on political order. He became convinced that the supplanting of one set of entrepreneurial elites by another could bring social unrest that might stall the capitalist engine."
This concern for the destabilizing aspects of modern commercial capitalism is part of what marked him as a conservative, something he called himself even as it was unfashionable to do so. In 1986 John Kenneth Galbraith dubbed Schumpeter "the most sophisticated conservative of this century." (Schumpeter famously and comically remarked on the intellectual flimsiness of some of his fellow conservatives that "when I see those who espouse my cause, I begin to wonder about the validity of my position.")
Indeed, his life and his work speak to the disjunctions at the heart of conservatism, particularly modern American conservatism with its embrace of libertarianism. More than most economic systems, McCraw writes, capitalism is "distinctly oriented toward the future." The combination of Schumpeter's championing of such a forward-oriented system with his concern for established political order built an inherent tension into his scholarship and vision.
Schumpeter deepened our understanding of the entrepreneur in capitalist society and the nature of capitalism itself. He shared with Marx an intense interest in the dynamics of capitalism and, as McCraw puts it, "its ever-changing nature, whose only music was uproar." His most lasting achievement was to demonstrate that capitalism is incomprehensible without an understanding of the role of entrepreneurs--the innovators who generate new products, forms, organizations, or brands. These "new combinations" challenge and ultimately undermine the established order; and, in capitalist societies, the process is repeated again and again. This economic swirl creates social and political stresses, but material progress is impossible without it.
Until Schumpeter, economists paid little attention to entrepreneurship. His famous student, Nobel Prize-winner Paul Samuelson, said that Schumpeter "left behind the only kind of school appropriate to a scientific discipline--a generation of economic theorists who caught fire from his teaching."
We can gauge the magnitude and scope of Schumpeter's genius as we would that of any theorist: His vision seems better to reflect reality than that of many of his predecessors or contemporaries. This includes Keynes, whose brilliance is too often underappreciated by conservatives even as it is overstated by liberals.
Schumpeter's achievement was difficult and two-fold: to describe the world both as it was and as it was becoming. Only great intellects are capable of such tasks. Given how much we have come to expect economic and technological change as a matter of course today, some of what Schumpeter prophesied in hindsight seems almost obvious. But that just shows how thoroughly the Schumpeterian vision has been absorbed. Indeed, Richard Nixon's famous aphorism about Keynesianism would benefit from an innovative update: We're all Schumpeterians now.
Mr. Schulz is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of the website TCS Daily.
Bibliography for: "Triumph of the new"
Nick Schulz "Triumph of the new". National Review. FindArticles.com. 09 Apr, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_12_59/ai_n27286425/
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Hardcover)
Resenha na Revista Brasileira de Inovação - 7 (1), p.243-250, janeiro/ junho 2008
Grupo de Produção Integrada, Programa de Engenharia de Produção, COPPE,
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
May 21, 2007 12:00 am
Robert M. Solow is professor emeritus at MIT and Foundation Fellowof the Russell Sage Foundation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize inEconomics in 1987.
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction
.... .... ..... ....
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction by Thomas K. McCraw
Heavy ThinkerA review by Robert M. Solow
I knew Joseph Schumpeter only in the last five years of his life, from 1945 until his death in 1950, at the age of sixty-six. To say that I knew him is actually a bit of an exaggeration. First as a returning undergraduate and then as a doctoral student in economics at Harvard, I attended his courses on advanced economic theory and the history of economic thought. The theory lectures bordered on incoherent; they alluded to everything but analyzed nothing. He would say: "Of course you know about X or Y, so I do not have to go into detail." But we didn't know about X or Y, as he must have realized. The history lectures were also disappointing. I do not remember where they began, but at the end of the term they had barely reached Adam Smith. The course felt like a stage display of multilingual erudition.
More generally, Schumpeter seemed to be playing the role of grand seigneur, and he tended to flatter where flattery was not due, no doubt satirically. All this went along with his reputation as a casual and easy grader. We used to say that he threw the exam books up a staircase: the ones that stuck at the top got an A, the ones that fell to the bottom an A minus. I was surprised to learn that in Austrian universities he had the reputation of a stern taskmaster.
You would not gather any of this from Thomas K. McCraw's account of those last years. He records that Schumpeter was troubled by the slow course of his own work, and unhappy about his relations with his departmental colleagues; but he says that Schumpeter was enthusiastic about his teaching and successful at it. McCraw may have been misled because Schumpeter's style was always flamboyant, entertaining, and exotic, and many students enjoyed the spectacle. Maybe it is just as well to slide over Schumpeter's failings at the end. He was past his peak; and the economics profession was moving in a direction -- rigorous theory couched in mathematical terms -- that he had always professed to admire but simply could not practice himself. There is good evidence that earlier cohorts of Harvard students found a slightly younger Schumpeter inspiring and a force for high intellectual standards.
In 1940 Schumpeter seriously contemplated leaving Harvard to accept a financially equivalent and organizationally more attractive offer from Yale. His senior colleagues at Harvard -- some able, more of them drab -- sent him a letter urging him to stay; it said the right things, but was perhaps a little perfunctory. A much more urgent, heartfelt, and mind-felt letter was signed by twenty-six junior faculty and advanced graduate students. The authors included the flower not only of Harvard-trained economists of that time, but of the future of American economics. You have to admire the man who evoked those words from those people.
I wish I had known him then. It is to Schumpeter's eternal credit that, at a time when mediocrity often cottoned to mediocrity in Harvard economics, he stood always for intellectual quality and energy, regardless of ideology, ethnicity, or social position. McCraw makes this very clear, and understands its importance.
In recollecting Schumpeter, it is hard to tear oneself away from the exotic manner, the dubious politics, the carefully crafted image, the hidden self-doubts, the convoluted life story, the complicated relations to three wives and several non-wives. McCraw covers all these in great and often fascinating detail. He makes full use of Schumpeter's diaries, which is where we learn of his self-doubt; it certainly was not evident in his public manner. On some issues -- in his politics especially -- he tends to give Schumpeter the benefit of the doubt, though not foolishly or blindly. One could have been harsher about Schumpeter's belief that Franklin Roosevelt was aiming at dictatorship, even if there were respectable members of the Union League Club who agreed. Still, what really matters are Schumpeter's writings -- the books and a couple of essays; and that is where I have something to add. I do not fully agree with McCraw's judgments.
In my view -- and that of most contemporary economists, I believe -- Schumpeter's most original and most lastingly significant book was Theory of Economic Development, which appeared in 1911 (and was translated into English in 1934). It was at the University of Czernowitz, not far from the beginning of his career as an economist, that he worked out his conception of the entrepreneur, the maker of "new combinations," as the driving force and characteristic figure of the fits-and-starts evolution of the capitalist economy. He was explicit that, while technological innovation was in the long run the most important function of the entrepreneur, organizational innovation in governance, finance, and management was comparable in significance.
Innovation is not the same thing as invention. Anyone can invent a new product or a new technique of production. The entrepreneur is the one who first sees its economic viability, bucks the odds, fights or worms his way into the market, and eventually wins or loses. Each win means profit for the entrepreneur and his backers, and it also means a jog upward for the whole economy. In the course of this process, which cannot possibly run smoothly, many businesses, individuals, and institutions, themselves founded on earlier successful innovations, will be undermined and swept away. Schumpeter called this birth-and-death process "creative destruction," and realized before anyone else that it was the main source of economic growth. There is no feasible alternative for capitalism; this is capitalism. Here is a characteristically strong statement: "Without innovations, no entrepreneurs; without entrepreneurial achievement, no capitalist returns and no capitalist propulsion. The atmosphere of industrial revolutions -- of 'progress' -- is the only one in which capitalism can survive."
The picture generated by classical and neoclassical economics had none of this dynamism, turbulence, and intrinsic uncertainty. (Malthus was perhaps a partial exception.) Smooth trends and stationary states, equilibria of one kind or another, predominated. There is a sense in which Schumpeter could claim to have been the progenitor of a torrent of modern research that analyzes the dynamics of profit-driven innovation and innovation-driven economic growth. Even creative destruction has been translated into equations. (The pioneers were Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt, and others have followed.)
Schumpeter derived from this analysis a lasting bias in favor of big business. "American opinion is so antibig business," he wrote, "precisely because big business has made the country what it is now and in doing so it has set the standard of the American soul: who is not a part of big business feels he does not meet the standard and by compensation turns against it." Clearly a successful innovation confers, in his view, at least a temporary monopoly. Without the lure of those monopoly profits, there would be no incentive for anyone to bear the risks of entrepreneurship. Schumpeter believed that large firms were both the source and the result of successful innovation; and so tampering with them would be dangerous. But the issue is more subtle than that. The English economist John Hicks once remarked that "the best of all monopoly profits is a quiet life," meaning that a seller with monopoly power might settle for less than the largest possible profit in order to avoid attracting rivals who would have to be beaten off amid turmoil and uncertainty. There is much evidence that having to compete with best practice is itself an important spur both to innovation and to other aspects of industrial performance. Maybe there is an optimal intensity of competition.
I think that this is Schumpeter's main legacy to economics: the role of technological and organizational innovation in driving and shaping the growth trajectory of capitalist economies. Whole subfields of economics now pursue the subject of the care, feeding, and consequences of innovation, using qualitative and quantitative, historical and mathematical methods. McCraw gives only a few pages to Theory of Economic Development. He certainly understands that it is fundamental, but he does not place it as the summa that it is.
I agree with him, however, that the two-volume Business Cycles of 1939 was a massive failure, in both senses of the phrase. (I still have the yellowing copy that I bought as a student. It was, and still is, essentially unreadable.) Schumpeter probably intended it as his entry in a competition with Keynes's General Theory, which appeared three years earlier, but it made no visible impression on the profession or the public. The book is full of detail about the rise and fall of firms, technologies, and industries, but it does not rise to the status of a theory of business cycles. It is more like a map on the scale of one foot equals two feet: you see the potholes, but you do not learn much about the scenery.
McCraw does not really discuss the main piece of new intellectual machinery that Schumpeter hoped to impose on the jumble of business-cycle history to convert it into a comprehensible tale. That was a system of three oscillations or waves superimposed on one another: a forty-month Kitchin cycle, a roughly ten-year Juglar cycle, and a long Kondratieff cycle of about fifty years. (Kitchin and Juglar were economists of considerable obscurity, and Kondratieff only a little less.) I don't suppose that anyone under the age of eighty remembers any of this, though there remain a few devotees of the Kondratieff cycle. To see six complete cycles, you would have to go back nearly three hundred years. It makes for good stories, maybe too easily.
This three-cycle scheme is a pointer to the main theoretical flaw in the book. Schumpeter wanted to place the entrepreneurial innovation process at the heart not only of episodic growth but also of the repetitive "business cycle" (or at least of the two longer species of cycles). McCraw seems to go along. But it does not work. After considerable experimentation, economics has given up on any such periodicities. Whatever was true of the more distant past (when the data were poor anyway), the texts of modern history do not fall into a pattern of regular, repetitive cycles. Instead, "the business cycle" has become shorthand for the series of irregular, short-run, aggregative fluctuations of varying duration, magnitude, and -- probably -- causation that we call prosperity and recession.
Schumpeter had a rise-and-fall mechanism in mind. The monopoly profits collected by a successful entrepreneurial firm attract imitators and competitors, many of which are financed by fresh credit. This activity eventually erodes the initial profits; and then the time is ripe for another innovation, if one comes along. There is obvious truth to this story, but it is far from being a theory of economy-wide fluctuations.
Business Cycles was surely a great disappointment to its author. Schumpeter had, essentially single-handedly, written this detailed 1,100-page narrative of events in Britain, Germany, and the United States as seen through the lens of creative destruction. It must have used up a dreadful amount of even his enormous energy. And the world of economics just kept on arguing about Keynes.
In 1942, Schumpeter published Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, which was reprinted and translated many times. It was his most successful book by a wide margin, and it is certainly a big canvas. McCraw thinks of it as a landmark of twentieth-century social science, and gives it many pages of description and discussion. I do not think it comes close to being that important; but I have to admit that I have a general distrust of ambitious, overarching attempts to capture a whole socioeconomic system in a few grand generalizations.
The book reiterates the standard Schumpeterian vision of capitalist turmoil and transformation, with the entrepreneurs as the indispensable heroes. This time he suggests a mechanism within capitalist society that (inevitably?) causes it to undermine itself. The children and grandchildren of successful entrepreneurs, precisely the people with the right DNA, are seduced by inherited wealth into intellectual pursuits, the arts, aristocratic habits, perhaps even into left-wing or at least anti-capitalist ideologies. It is not the proletariat that blows up the capitalist edifice, which is in fact good for the proletariat. It is the second generation of successful entrepreneurs that lets the ground floor decay.
Is this in fact a common pattern? Is it more likely than simple chance would imply? Schumpeter can tell good tales, but it is hard to know if they are the only, or the typical, tales. He also makes the rather paradoxical argument that, with long habit, even the process of innovation itself becomes routinized and depersonalized, and therefore weakened. Can he really have believed that successful capitalism is essentially a romantic virtue? There is little doubt that the heroic view of entrepreneurship came naturally to Schumpeter. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is the kind of swan song that yields willingly to Schumpeter's "vision" without a lot of critical analysis.
The chapters on socialism are written almost ironically. Many passages accept, mock-seriously, the benefits in efficiency and equity that have always been claimed for socialism and public-spirited central planning; but then come all the qualifications, Orwellian and worse, often drawn from the experience of the Soviet Union. Saving, for instance, can simply be extracted by the state. "Hardships and abstinence' have been imposed such as in capitalist society could ever have enforced." Under socialism, however, this rigor "presumably will command that moral allegiance which is being increasingly returned to capitalism." Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is a well-done polemic from a supremely sophisticated Central European. I don't know if it can be classified as social science, but I do think that most of it is true.
Which brings us to the "democracy" in Schumpeter's title. He was not a democrat by instinct or by reflection. He had little confidence in the ability of the average citizen to vote intelligently, or even in his own long-run interest. His book asks if democratic socialism is possible. The conclusion is that perhaps it is possible in principle, but almost surely not in practice. Democratic capitalism is what we have, but democratic resentment and demo- cratic ignorance tend to work against capitalist success, either by accepting socialism or by fostering over-regulation.
For these reasons, Schumpeter could not conceive that a permanent mixed economy was a viable proposition. He called it "capitalism in an oxygen tent." For him, capitalism is the civilization of a few family fortunes and broad inequality. Democracy, he thought, must turn out to be "laboristic," and therefore inimical to capitalist success. This conclusion was a major error, as McCraw says. It has been soundly contradicted empirically by the sixty years and counting since World War II. Nor was this a mere slip of judgment. Schumpeter's mistake was rooted in his political and social attitudes and even, to some extent, in his characterization of entrepreneurship and the dynamics of capitalism.
As against McCraw, I cannot see this book as a major work of "social economics." My guess is that Schumpeter did not really think so either. (He said as much, but that could have been false modesty.) When the publisher asked for new material for later editions, Schumpeter was content to tack on minor things that he had written about the postwar economy, especially the view that the Soviet Union had been the big winner, having picked the pockets of Churchill and Roosevelt (whom Schumpeter hated anyway). This is not how you treat your life's great work.I will not discuss History of Economic Analysis, edited and published after his death by his wife Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter. It is very long and very recondite. Instead, I think one can learn more about Schumpeter from two books that he did not write. During his prime years, he was episodically working at a book about money. One can see why he might have tried. He had spent some years in private banking, and a shorter unsuccessful interval as minister of finance in Austria. He had published a couple of relevant essays; and Theory of Economic Development emphasizes the creation of credit by the banking system as part of the process by which banks finance would-be entrepreneurs. But he did not have much aptitude for monetary theory, or any important idea to transmit. When the bits he had written down were published as a book in the 1970s, it attracted little attention.
Then, in his later years, he thought about writing a treatise that would summarize "Schumpeterian economics." Most especially he contemplated a "preliminary volume" that would summarize the treatise to come, and would tell his story in a style that could reach a broader professional and non-professional audience. This was clearly intended as his answer to Keynes. The internalized rivalry with Keynes, his exact contemporary, for the title of World's Leading Economist seems to have nagged frequently at Schumpeter.
But he seemed not to understand what Keynesian economics was about, or why it won over the younger generation. For example, he described Keynes as the apostle of consumer spending (in contrast to his own emphasis on innovational investment). But in fact consumer spending is passive in Keynes's General Theory. The driving force of the aggregate economy is actually investment spending; and Keynes put great causal weight on "animal spirits" and "the state of long-run expectations," both of which are much more akin to entrepreneurial drive.
Similarly, Schumpeter charged Keynes with being a "stagnationist" (in contrast to his own belief that there was no natural limit to entrepreneurial energy and innovation). This is a more complicated matter. The Keynesian framework could accommodate stagnationist ideas about the drying-up of profitable investment opportunities; and in other hands it did. Keynes certainly did not admire "money-grubbing," and he would have classified a hot-to-trot Schumpeterian entrepreneur as a money-grubber. That is not stagnationism. It is probably more accurate to say that Keynes erred in a different way, by thinking that consumers might become satiated as their incomes rose and could be left with neither the wish to spend nor the capacity to enjoy leisure.
It is possible to see Keynesian and Schumpeterian ideas as complementary. Keynes is about short-run economic fluctuations brought about by erratic variations in the willingness of investors and governments to spend; Schumpeter is about the long-run trajectory driven by the erratic march of technological progress. This complementarity only became clear later, after both men had died, when economic growth became an explicit objective of public policy and topic of systematic analysis. Schumpeter was left frustrated by the younger generation's affinity for his rival. In any case, the "preliminary volume" never materialized.
The world turns. Today, some sixty years after their deaths, Schumpeter's star probably outshines Keynes's. The business cycle has receded in importance, partly because the large industrial economies have sprouted a more stable structure, and partly because the lessons that Keynes taught have been learned by central banks and finance ministries. Instead, long-term economic growth has moved to the top of the political and intellectual agenda, and that was Schumpeter's topic. As Robert Lucas memorably put it, once you have begun to think about economic growth, it is hard to think about anything else. It is a pity that troubled old Schumpeter did not live to see the triumph of his obsession.
There was another source of Schumpeter's unhappiness during that last decade, and of his tendency to withdraw from his colleagues. He had been ambivalent -- worse than ambivalent, some thought -- about the war itself. His wife had many associations with Japan, where she had done research. More importantly, Schumpeter believed that a strong Germany was all that kept western civilization from being overrun by the Bolshevik hordes. He did not exactly want to see Germany win; but he did not want to see Germany lose. He would certainly have preferred to see Western Europe and the United States join Germany in a struggle against the Soviet Union. Would he have swallowed Hitler if that were necessary? There is no way to know, but the fact that one can ask the question exposes the problem. The man was all problems, and one very important idea.
The Basic Paradox of Capitalism, April 23, 2007
By Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)
Analyst of Change, June 22, 2008 - great
By Thomas M. Humphrey (Midlothian, VA USA) - AMAZON
Schumpeter made one huge mistake that is overlooked by McCraw, December 26, 2007
By Michael Emmett Brady "mandmbrady" (Bellflower, California ,United States)
A Masterpiece on a man who understood dynamism, October 29, 2009
By David Zetland (UC Berkeley)
We Are All Schumpeterians Now, April 5, 2009
By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE (Tokyo, Japan)
BEST WRITTEN RECENT BIOGRAPHY; BUT TENOUS WHEN IT MOVES FROM HISTORY TO ECONOMICS, April 30, 2007
By Sanford "Sanford" (New York)
The Colorful Life of Capital's Champion
By DAN SELIGMAN APRIL 5, 2007 Mr. Seligman is a contributing editor of Forbes.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page D7
Why -- to broach a perfectly reasonable question that hardly ever gets asked -- is capitalism so wonderful? One reason the question doesn't get asked is that the wonderfulness seldom makes the daily report on the capitalist system, which obliges us to keep reading about fraud, stock-option backdating, layoffs, arrant inequality and other nastiness. Another reason is that the system's real wonders, which mainly have to do with ever rising living standards, keep happening in slow motion and therefore tend not to be noticed. In the U.S., personal incomes have doubled every 50 or 60 years.
.... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .... .....
The Silver Lining to Impending Doom
By G. PASCAL ZACHARY
Published: May 6, 2007
ACROSS the world, doomsayers are smiling. The mounting signs of climate change have forced onto center stage the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and quickly adapting human activities to thrive in higher temperatures and more unpredictable weather.
Alas, the bad news about climate change is good news for business.
A curious feature of capitalism is that threats, or more precisely, the human response to them, are economically and technologically stimulating. Or, to put it another way, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” ... .... .... ..... .... ..... ..... ....
29/11/2007 - 03h16
Quem foi Joseph Schumpeter, o teórico da "destruição criativa"?
...romance de Herman Hesse "Magister Ludi", um tipo de xadrez intelectual jogado por uma elite de padres seculares? *Robert Skidelsky é vice-editor da revista Prospect. http://noticias.uol.com.br/midiaglobal/prospect/2007/11/29/ult2678u129.jhtm
Robert Skidelsky — 22nd December 2007 — Issue 141 The theorist of "creative destruction," one of the greatest economists of the 20th century, was no stranger to violent disruption in his personal life, as a new biography reveals -->
The theorist of “creative destruction,” one of the greatest economists of the 20th century, was no stranger to violent disruption in his personal life, as a new biography reveals
Edição 5 - Julho de 2007 04/07/2007 - 12:04 HISTÓRIA
Redescobrindo Schumpeter: o poder do capitalismoO economista Joseph Schumpeter talvez tenha sido o pensador mais influente de todos os tempos sempre que se pensa em inovação, empreendedorismo e capitalismo. Ele foi também uma das personalidades mais incomuns do século 20, como mostra Thomas K. McCraw, professor emérito de Harvard em uma nova biografia. Leia a entrevista com o autor e um excerto do livro.
Principais conceitos discutidos:
As idéias de Schumpeter sobre o capitalismo, o empreendedorismo e a inovação. Ainda hoje elas encontram eco entre estudantes e homens e mulheres de negócios.
Partindo pressuposto de que o sistema capitalismo foi a força econômica e social mais influente do século 20 (e é ainda hoje), não há melhor guia para entender sua influência e sua complexidade do que as idéias do célebre economista Joseph Schumpeter, diz Thomas K. McCraw, da Harvard Business School. “Creio que Schumpeter é o analista mais penetrante que já tivemos do capitalismo. Ele viu coisas que as pessoas não viam.” McCraw, laureado com o Prêmio Pulitzer de história, é autor de uma nova biografia: Prophet of innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and creative destruction (Profeta da inovação: Joseph Schumpeter e a destruição criativa), em que reunindo histórias de cunho social, empresarial e econômico, lança luz sobre a vida e a obra de Schumpeter. Um tema central da obra mostra como os insights de Schumpeter nos ajudam a compreender de que modo a força do capitalismo, da inovação e do empreendedorismo continua a transformar o mundo hoje.
O que torna a narrativa ainda mais interessante é a personalidade carismática do economista. Um tipo elegante, Schumpeter (1883-1950) fazia sucesso com as mulheres, era adorado por seus alunos, e ganhou e perdeu uma fortuna em poucos anos. Certa vez, enfrentou à espada um bibliotecário, e venceu.
McCraw, professor emérito de História Econômica da cátedra Isidor Strauss, discorre sobre a pesquisa que fez para o livro e reflete sobre o legado de Schumpeter em entrevista concedida por e-mail.
..... ...... ..... ..... ...
PING; The Silver Lining to Impending Doom
By G. PASCAL ZACHARY
Published: May 6, 2007
Drawing (Drawing by Christophe Vorlet)
ACROSS the world, doomsayers are smiling. The mounting signs of climate change have forced onto center stage the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and quickly adapting human activities to thrive in higher temperatures and more unpredictable weather. ... ... ... ... .....
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction, by Thomas K. McCraw, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 719 pages. BOA
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Summer 2008, Vol. 39, No. 1, Pages 151-152
FEATURE REVIEW ESSAY - American Hegemony and Creative Destruction, David E. Nye, Fall 2008
Biography- Joseph Alois Schumpeter
Joseph Alois Schumpeter
By Tyler Cowen Friday, May 4, 2007
Filed under: Big Ideas, Book Reviews, Economic Policy
Journal of Economic Literature, Volume: 46; Issue / Number: 1; 2008; Page: 154-156, BY Audretsch, David B.
Economic History Review, 2008, vol. 61, issue 1, pages 272-274
Managerial and Decision Economics, Volume 29, Issue 8, Pages 675 - 677.
Reviewed by Richard M. Abrams- BUSINESS HISTORY REVIEW, Winter 2007, 7 pgs.
New Left Review, 48, November-December 2007 - Aaron Benanav on Thomas McCraw, Prophet of Innovation. A Schumpeter for po
Schumpeter's legacy? Interaction and emotions in the sociology of entrepreneurship. (Joseph Schumpeter) - Article from: Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice Article date: March 1, 2005 - Author: Goss, David COPYRIGHT 2005 Baylor University.
Creative Destruction vs. the New Industrial State
The "embedded" capitalism of Joseph Schumpeter and John Kenneth Galbraith =+= Deirdre McCloskey October 2007 Print Edition
Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative DestructionPublished by EH.NET
Thomas K. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007. xi + 719 pp. $35 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-0-674-02523-3.
Reviewed for EH.NET by Richard N. Langlois, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut.
At the beginning of his long-awaited new biography of Joseph Schumpeter, Thomas McCraw describes the Vienna of Schumpeter's birth as a "techno-romantic" civilization. It is a characterization, he says, that "applies as aptly to the man as to the country." One might add that it also applies aptly to McCraw's approach to Schumpeter. Unlike the several earlier Schumpeter biographies — notably those of Robert Loring Allen (1991), Richard Swedberg (1991), and Wolfgang Stolper (1994) — Prophet of Innovation is intended not primarily for academics but for the educated general reader. As such, the book falls into the biography subcategory of popular scientific writing, a genre that is almost inherently techno-romantic, painting in a romantic light not only its human subject but also its subject's "technology" — his or her theories, discoveries, and scientific breakthroughs. McCraw is at his best in conveying Schumpeter the man, providing an engaging and beautifully written portrait of this larger-than-life and often tragic figure. McCraw also works hard at weaving Schumpeter's economics into the life story and at making the ideas supply their share of the drama. The result deepens our understanding of a fascinating and complex man and of the difficult times in which he lived, even if it does not necessarily sharpen our understanding of his economics or add much that is new to his biography.
It is testimony to the growing prominence of Schumpeter that he should attract as a biographer someone who is a distinguished business historian, an emeritus professor at Harvard Business School, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize (for Prophets of Regulation (1984)). Like Schumpeter himself, McCraw sees Keynes as the relevant benchmark. Both Schumpeter and Keynes were born in 1883, and their careers comprehended more-or-less exactly the first half of the twentieth century. They were both products — and perhaps embodiments — of their backgrounds and training. Both were brilliant and quick witted, aristocratic each in his own way. And both died relatively young. For most of the second half of the twentieth century, of course, Keynes was the most famous name in economics, whereas Schumpeter was an obscurity remembered principally by a handful of students of technological change. By the 1990s, however, the tables had begun to turn. Keynesian economics was in decline and "Schumpeterian" economics on the ascendant. As Art Diamond (2006) has recently shown, citations to Schumpeter began to exceed citations to Keynes by the mid-1990s.
Schumpeter would probably have been astounded, although no doubt pleased, by these developments. As McCraw tells us, Schumpeter was well aware that he was founding no school, even musing at one point about his own lack of "leaderliness." Whereas the founders of schools typically promote the careers of those who carry their message, Schumpeter famously promoted smart people irrespective of their views, including the Marxist Paul Sweezy and technicians like Paul Samuelson and Wassily Leontief. Indeed, one of the most puzzling of Schumpeter's professional characteristics was his view that the economics profession ought to become more "scientific" and mathematical: for although he accurately anticipated what was in fact about to happen to economics — and one wonders whether he would have thought that today's profession has gone too far — the narrow technical style of economics he was pushing was strikingly at variance with his own approach. McCraw is not alone in arguing that one of Schumpeter's major contributions was to have produced broad social theory that combined economics with sociology and history.
In the end, however, the mid-century dominance of Keynes and the late-century rise of Schumpeter arguably have more to do with the fit of ideas to external events than with the skills and inclinations of the economists themselves in cultivating a following. The more firmly we find ourselves within the twenty-first century, the more we are coming to see the middle of the twentieth — surely 1914 to 1945 and maybe 1914 to 1989 — as a dark and (we may hope) aberrant time. Not surprisingly, economic historians have understood better than most that the long nineteenth century was the first era of globalization. Trade barriers declined, transportation and communications costs fell, and productivity and output increased. This was the era of empires: the British, the Ottoman, and the Habsburg in which Schumpeter was born. In the case of the Habsburgs, running a multi-ethnic empire required a careful balance of underlying national and ethnic tensions; and the result of that balancing was a relatively open, liberal, and intellectually vibrant society. Schumpeter was surely shaped by turn-of-the century Vienna, just as Keynes was no doubt the product of England and Bloomsbury. But it was the period after 1914 — war, hyperinflation, depression, protectionism, nationalism, totalitarianism, more war — that sharpened the intellectual contrast between the two men.
The contrast appears most clearly on the level of vision, a term Schumpeter popularized in his History of Economic Analysis. Keynes was fundamentally an economic pessimist in the manner of the nineteenth-century classical economists. His vision of the long run was that the marginal return to capital was in secular decline as capitalism used up all its investment opportunities; but his famous understanding of the short run was that clever intervention guided by smart people could keep the system afloat. Schumpeter's vision was precisely the reverse. Schumpeter believed that capitalism's potential was unbounded: an unending dynamic process of change — creative destruction — driven by entrepreneurship and leading to an ever-higher standard of life. For him, the best course was always to maintain good (i. e., pro entrepreneurial) policies and institutions and to sit tight through the destruction phases of creative destruction despite the inevitable political temptations to tinkering. It is not difficult, says McCraw, "to identify a Schumpeterian program — at whatever level of analysis one chooses: the individual entrepreneur, the business firm, the industry, or even the country. At all levels, Schumpeter's litmus test is whether the players are pursuing innovation and bringing about creative destruction. If they are, then the program is Schumpeterian. If they are not, it isn't" (169). McCraw discusses in greater detail than previous biographers the popular articles Schumpeter wrote in the 1920s for The German Economist, a business magazine edited by his friend Gustav Stolper. I was not surprised by the extent to which Schumpeter comes off in these articles as a supply-sider (my term, not McCraw's). Many articles favored low taxes, sound fiscal policy, and the encouragement of savings. But I was a bit surprised by the level of dirigisme Schumpeter was inclined to countenance. He favored "selective lending to companies in industries with high growth potential. 'The strong ones, or those that can become strong, are to be strengthened, but the weak ones are not to be nursed.' As conditions for public assistance, he argues, the companies must be forced to adopt innovative practices" (173).
In the years after 1914, and especially during the Great Depression, Keynes's vision captured the temper of the times, whereas Schumpeter's optimism seemed quaint and irrelevant (even though real GDP per capita in the U. S. had in fact almost doubled between 1914 and 1940). After World War II, however, and perhaps especially after 1989, it was Schumpeter who began to seem right on target. Capitalism was discovering investment opportunities literally unimaginable in 1940; liberalism, globalization, and freer trade were back; and economic historians (if not necessarily the general public) were coming around to the view that, far from being a massive meltdown of capitalism, the Great Depression was more like a colossal failure of the mechanisms of short-run tinkering with the monetary and banking systems.
Of course, Schumpeter was far from the only economist who was eclipsed by Keynes. Robert Skidelsky, Keynes's biographer, has recently attempted to encapsulate why Keynes's vision won out over that of another Austrian, F. A. Hayek. "Hayek believed that the market economy was a smoothly-adjusting machine in the absence of credit creation by the banking system. Keynes saw monetary 'management' by the central bank, which could include credit creation, as the only way to keep it stable. This was the pith of their debate. Keynes won it, because he made the more relevant statements" (Skidelsky 2006). Keynes won the debate with Schumpeter (in the Keynesian short run) for much the same reasons. But, in terms of pure economic theory, Schumpeter was far less the anti-Keynes than was a Hayek or a Friedman; in particular, Schumpeter's monetary theory was far more Keynesian (or maybe even Post-Keynesian) than it was monetarist. Though he disagreed fundamentally with stagnationism, Schumpeter believed that the process of growth could never be made stable through monetary policy of any sort, since, in his view, the money supply was the endogenous product of the entrepreneurial process. Business cycles are thus an inevitable manifestation of creative destruction. In his massive 1939 tome Business Cycles, which he hoped would be a defining theoretical statement to rival The General Theory, Schumpeter sought the touchstone to these inevitable fluctuations in the scientistic necromancy of predictable cycles. The result was a kind of steampunk in which colorful historical details mingle with tantalizingly mathematical forces. McCraw rightly sees the book as a massive failure, not merely because it was out of step with the temper of the times but also because it was a near-unreadable jumble of facts and ideas. One might also add that as theory it was completely wrong.
In the longer-run, however, Schumpeter's emphasis on entrepreneurship enabled him to capture the tenor of our times in a much-less-obviously political way than a Hayek or a Friedman. Whereas many economists since Cantillon and Smith have insisted that economic initiative would naturally flourish in an environment of good institutions and good economic policies, Schumpeter gave entrepreneurship an independent life and causative force. His ideas could thus become a rallying point for those who wished to theorize about, and to promote, growth and innovation while disagreeing about what constitute good institutions and good policies.
A scientific failure in mid-career does not move the engine of techno-romantic biography along unless it is quickly followed by triumph. In Schumpeter's case, this came in the form of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, a book Schumpeter wrote during the darkest years of the century. McCraw sees this work as a masterpiece, and a return to what was really Schumpeter's great contribution all along: economic sociology rather than economic theory. Other biographers, notably Swedberg, would agree. But not all are persuaded. In his review of Prophet of Innovation in The New Republic, Robert Solow (2007) makes a point of minimizing the book's importance, though he admits to a prejudice against big-think social science. And one cannot forget Frank Knight's perhaps apocryphal dismissal of the book as "superbly entertaining dinner-table conversation." In this matter I take McCraw's side. Schumpeter's most important contribution remains his theory of entrepreneurship. But Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is significant for the way it attempts to place that theory in the larger currents of social thought. It is not always right, by any means; but it is important for the broad ways of thinking it introduces. Indeed, I consider the book important even in an area where McCraw thinks otherwise. McCraw tells us that Schumpeter's theory of democracy was largely anticipated by a tradition of American writing since colonial times of which Schumpeter seemed largely ignorant. True or not, this point misses the extent to which Schumpeter's formulation of the issues anticipated and influenced modern public-choice economics.
Though written during World War II, the darkest period within a dark period, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy actually addresses what would become a central issue of the post-War period: the battle of capitalism against socialism. To his credit, and unlike the majority of commentators over the years, McCraw understands that Schumpeter's brief in favor of socialism is not meant to be taken literally; it is parody, rhetorical deception. What comes through less clearly in McCraw's treatment, however, is that, in a manner reminiscent of Thorstein Veblen, the black humor has a deadly serious function. Socialism may very well win. And it will be a tragedy.
From our perch in the twenty-first century, we may wonder why Schumpeter took full-blown socialism so seriously — until we recall that, until 1989, the only economists who predicted a victory for capitalism were considered cranks. (We may also want to keep in mind that our second age of modern globalization may itself someday come to an end as well.) McCraw is more inclined to wonder why Schumpeter failed to see that a stable mixed economy is possible and desirable. After heaping justifiable praise on Schumpeter's last major work, The History of Economic Analysis (published posthumously under the editorship of Schumpeter's third wife, the economic historian Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter), and after documenting the signs of Schumpeter's growing influence in present-day economic discourse, McCraw gives himself to wondering in epilogue how Schumpeter would have reacted to the modern world. Surely, says McCraw, Schumpeter would have decried the "accounting frauds, outrageous executive pay schemes, back-dating of stock options, and other looting of corporate treasuries by the very executives who were supposed to be their stewards. He would have considered these kinds of practices a betrayal of capitalism. All of them embodied the negation of the system Schumpeter had supported. They also represented reminders of the need for eternal vigilance and timely action by government regulators — factors that Schumpeter, along with a large majority of his fellow citizens, persistently underestimated" (498). I am not surprised to hear the author of Prophets of Regulation taking this view. But I have a hard time imagining the author of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy doing so. Schumpeter would have been far more likely to say that the fall of Enron and related events are good examples of creative destruction cleaning up the system, and I would have expected him to warn against, rather than to embrace, the idea of subjecting capitalists to a New Class of regulators. Schumpeter ever outrageous, ever defiant. Wouldn't that have made a better — not to say more accurate — ending to a gothic techno-romance?
Allen, Robert Loring. 1991. Opening Doors: The Life and Work of Joseph Schumpeter. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Diamond, Arthur. 2006. "Schumpeter vs. Keynes: In the Long Run Not All of Us Are Dead," paper presented at the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society meeting, June 22, Sophia Antipolis, France.
McCraw, Thomas K. 1984. Prophets of Regulation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Skidelsky, Robert. 2006. "Hayek versus Keynes: The Road to Reconciliation." Retrieved July 18, 2007, from http://skidelskyr.com/index.php?id=2,83,0,0,1,0.
Solow, Robert M. 2007. "Heavy Thinker," The New Republic, May 21.
Richard N. Langlois is Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut. His latest book, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge 2007), was a recipient of the 2006 Schumpeter Prize of the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geographic area: Europe (4), North America (7)
Time period: 20th Century: Pre WWII (8), 20th Century: WWII and post-WWII (9)
Subject: Business History (B), Economic Development, Growth, and Aggregate Productivity (D), History of Economic Thought; Methodology (L), Markets and Institutions (W)
Copyright © 2007 by EH.NET. All rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational uses if proper credit is given to the author and EH.Net. For other permission, please contact the EH.NET Administrator (email@example.com; telephone 513-529-2229; fax: 513-529-6992). Published by EH.NET Nov 14 2007 All EH.Net reviews are archived at http://eh.net/bookreviews/.
CitationRichard N. Langlois, "Review of Thomas K. McCraw, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction." EH.Net Economic History Services, Nov 14 2007. URL: http://eh.net/bookreviews/library/1278
This profile deals with Joseph Schumpeter, the Austro-American economist famous for the notion of 'creative destruction'.It covers -
Schumpeter, like Veblen, is a writer whose work is perhaps more often quoted - or misquoted - as actually read and who is plundered for isolated insights about innovation, entrepreneurship and the corporation rather than offering a persuasive, coherent theory about economic cycles.
Academic fashion has seen his reputation wax and wane: he is currently undergoing a major revival in the specialist and popular press as a thinker of economic turbulence and as a fascinating character, someone with the appearance of Erich von Stroheim (or Nosferatu) who bridged fin de siècle Vienna and late 1940s Harvard. Daniel Bell described him as that rarest of creatures: an economist with a tragic sense of life.
..... ...... ..... ..... ...... ..... ..
The major biographical study is Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (Cambridge: The Belknap Press 2007) by Thomas McCraw.Other accounts include Schumpeter: A Biography (Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 1991) by Richard Swedberg, Opening Doors: The Life and Work of Joseph Schumpeter (New Brunswick: Transaction 1991) by Robert Allen, Joseph Alois Schumpeter: The Public Life of a Private Man (Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 1994) by Wolfgang Stopler and Joseph Schumpeter: Scholar, Teacher, Politician (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 1991) by Eduard März. Paul Samuelson offered 'Reflections on the Schumpeter I Knew Well' in 13 Journal of Evolutionary Economics 5 (Dec 2003); another tribute is provided by Peter Drucker in Adventures of a Bystander (New York: Harper & Row 1978).
Discussions of his works and significance include Yuichi Shionoya's Schumpeter & the Idea of Social Science (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1997), Nathan Rosenberg's Schumpeter & the Endogeneity of Technology: Some American Perspectives (London: Routledge 2000), Schumpeter and the History of Ideas (Ann Arbor: Uni of Michigan Press 1994) edited by Yuichi Shionoya & Mark Perlman, Schumpeter and the Political Economy of Change (New York: Praeger 1991) by David McKee, J A Schumpeter: Critical Assessments (London: Routledge 1991) edited by John Wood and the concise Between Marginalism and Marxism: The Economic Sociology of J A Schumpeter (New York: St Martin's 1992) by Tom Bottomore. His influence is evident in works such as Drucker's The End of Economic Man: The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Day 1939) and The New Society: The Anatomy of Industrial Order (New York: Harper & Row 1950) and Creative Destruction: Business Survival Strategies in the Global Internet Economy (Cambridge: MIT Press 2001) edited by Lee McKnight, Paul Vaaler & Raul Katz.
...... ...... ..... ...... ....
Do economists know any more than us?
Our credit is crunched and the recession's gone global, so can the world's greatest economists rescue us? Nick Fraser searches for salvation
Saturday, 11 April 2009
I've been conducting an experiment. I've supplemented woeful headlines with a rich infusion of economics texts. Macro, micro, behavioural and neo-classical, I've tried them all. I've been to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, but I've also scoured the work of lesser-known DWEES (Dead White European Economists). And I've tried financial gurus, too, like George Soros. Of course I reread Keynes.
But it hasn't been easy. The closed-off, deterministic ambience of economics still gets to me. So does the conspicuous absence of humans, except as producers or consumers. And the language (anyone for "quantitative easing"?) remains, with rare exceptions, dreadful. For all its apparent methodological sophistication, a lot of economics is best experienced as a pseudo-science, valuable often for what it doesn't purport to tell us – the odd flashes of illumination rather than the extrapolation of often misleading statistics.
Economists like to pad out their credentials with references to the area in which they claim expertise. So-called behavioural economics is voguish now, but I am not sure whether this means more than a rueful acknowledgment that "the dismal science" is cracking apart under the pressures we place on its practitioners. The message I've brought back from the economic front is that we must listen to economists, but they must change the way they speak to us. And it would be best if the change occurred immediately, before the world is further damaged.
There are 30,000 economists with PhDs, and this smallish tribe appears to be overwhelmingly male, with an inherited over-rational view of life. Many economists really do believe, mountains of evidence from Darwin or literature to the contrary, that we are a rational species. A survey conducted among the economics departments of MIT, Harvard and Stanford reveals that most young economists place overwhelming trust in mathematics. (A "broad knowledge of the economy" seemed important to only 3 per cent of respondents, whereas to 68 per cent it seemed unimportant.)
Is the practice of economics really that different from what we hacks do? Giles Keating, head of research at the Credit Suisse Private Bank, tells me that the models used by economists should be regarded as "partial representations" of reality. "One should guard against certainty," he says. "And one should also realise that no model ever applies 100 per cent."
Economists can seem dogmatic while ceaselessly changing their minds. No wonder that when they are depicted in popular culture, it is as uber-nerds, stuck in their own backrooms and requiring rescuers. A clue to how economists might change comes from Richard Layard, who has tried to reconfigure economics by marrying statistics to the utilitarian, pleasure-based philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. Layard thinks that social sciences can be made to deliver happiness. Criticising the number of economists who "don't do useful things," he tells me that each one should also be "a bit of something else."
Economics was, by and large, a 19th century invention rooted in a confident sense that information would aid progress, and early practitioners assembled data with the zeal of demented Casaubons. By the mid-20th century economists acquired the status of secular seers. They were supposed to supervise developed economies, raising up less developed ones. Although it was never clear whether what they did should be considered as a science or not, it was accepted that economists had a patent on the future. Ensconced in foundations, finance ministries, planning departments of corporations, ubiquitous on cable TV shows, Homo Economicus ruled. Who else would tell us how our complex societies were likely to develop? Who else was capable of predicting the future?
By the 1980s, it became fashionable for financial firms to acquire economists. Economists lent their skills to anticipating the performance of markets, at the price of becoming salesmen. The economist Robert Shiller, who did predict the slump, believes that many pre-slump practitioners in the vicinity suffered from "Groupthink" – a polite way of saying that they were so far in on the game and failed to notice anything was amiss. Dissenters from the prevailing optimism were abused as spoilsports bent on wrecking a good party. As Keating explains, people cease to listen when you write the same memo predicting catastrophe for the fifth time.
Although economists are not as unpopular as their banker patrons, they, too, have suffered from the backlash since the Crash. Among others, the Queen has wondered aloud why economists hadn't anticipated disaster. For Robert Skidelsky, author of the biography of John Maynard Keynes, economics consists for the most part of rehashed fads. "A few geniuses aside, economists frame their assumptions to suit existing states of affairs," he says. "They are intellectual butlers, serving the interests of those in power, not vigilant observers of shifting reality. Their systems trap them in orthodoxy."
I'm not sure that Skidelsky isn't exaggerating. Some of the most important writing in our time comes from the vicinity of economics – not, to be sure, from the now discredited school of so-called "classical" economists, but from outsiders on the periphery of the profession. There have been shrewd best-sellers like Freakonomics, or the recent Nudge (recommended by David Cameron) using economics methodology to render the kinks of human nature.
This year's cult book in New York is Lords of Finance, a gruesomely topical account of the blindness of central bankers during the 1930s slump by Liaquat Ahamed, formerly an economist at the World Bank.
Economists now come from diverse academic backgrounds, and some of them nowadays are women. Gillian Tett, shortly to publish a book on the Crash, says she learnt about economics amid the wreckage of the failed Soviet system, working in a Tajikistan village on a PhD in anthropology. She tells me that we should redefine Home Economics. Everyone should be sufficiently numerate to understand how credit card debt is accumulated, and how economies, national or international, do or don't function. The best economists are now touchingly ready to admit that they do not really know what is going to happen. When I approached Martin Wolf four months ago, I asked him how long it would be before we knew if the world financial system could recover fully, he paused. "I don't really know the answer to that question," he said. "It could be months, but it could be years, too." When I asked how we would know, he almost shrugged. "I'm not sure," he said. It would seem from recent columns that Wolf is uncertain about our prospects. "I am becoming ever more worried," he wrote recently.
My first encounter with economics took place in the 1970s when, as a young journalist, I was required to construct for the BBC a device illustrating the effects of inflation. The machine, which looked like something built by Wallace and Gromit, had glass tubes and valves and coloured liquids. When operated by an economist, it began to leak; and it was consigned to the props department without further ado. But I absorbed the work of Keynes on the Central Line between power cuts during the Three Days' Week. A Keynes revival is under way now, but the great man's memory has been wrongly evoked before.
Keynes was a speculator, patron of the arts, entrepreneur, promiscuous homosexual, unsuccessful philosopher and purveyor of the best cerebral one-liners. He ripped up the rule book of classical economists. Keynes saw that slumps didn't disappear of their own accord. If we wanted to, we should cause them to end. Keynes gadded about from one conference to another during the 1930s in a not entirely successful effort to persuade governments to take action, borrowing money to create jobs and pumping money into the economy.
This is the Keynes daily celebrated in the editorial pages of posh newspapers. But Keynes changed his mind a lot. In the 1930s, he was dealing with governments pathologically averse to debt but it's not clear that he would approve of today's gigantic debt levels in the US and Britain.
As his Russian ballerina wife said, Keynes was "more than economist". He believed that he was set on earth for the purpose of saving liberal civilisation from extinction. Keynes was the ultimate British sceptic, rudely, gloriously provocative. He began his career as a philosopher, later pondering the difference between risk and uncertainty. At best, economists could prepare us for uncertainty. "We do not know what the future will bring," he once told a group of bankers, "except that it will be different from any future we could predict."
Keynes would not have been surprised to see his ideas fall from fashion, as they did in the late 1970s. I once had the pleasure of eating a chicken salad sandwich for lunch with the free-market guru Milton Friedman, and he seemed to be one of the most happy people I have ever met. Friedman did truly believe that left to their devices, markets worked, and that governments should be encouraged to do as little as possible, and he chided me gently when I expressed my admiration for Keynes. ("Brits always love him", he said tolerantly. "I'm not sure why.")
The Friedman sunshine is to be found distilled in Alan Greenspan's memoir The Age of Turbulence. Greenspan advised four Presidents as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, and he should be seen as the most influential figure in Planet Money of the past two decades. The Greenspan boom was based on cheap money and minimal regulation.
Last autumn Greenspan appeared before Congress, delivering an astonishing mea culpa. "The whole intellectual edifice collapsed in the summer of last year," Greenspan admitted. He meant that the neoclassical, mainstream economics practiced by him had failed, because of a "fundamental flaw". Markets weren't, as he had believed, self-correcting. They didn't always display rationality – because individuals didn't behave rationally. Greenspan was saying that at certain times, irrationality would rule. More important, he was suggesting that the guiding principle of rational selfishness he had espoused, and promoted for so long, was an illusion.
It's still hard to comprehend the levels of greed and stupidity that characterised the era which ended with last October's crash. The excess is best understood in relation to the ridiculous art bubble that accompanied Wall Street's Glory Years. One instrument invented in the past years of madness was the Collateralized Debt Obligation, in its latter stages of evolution made not from real debts, but from so-called synthetic materials. Rather than acquiring securities or bonds or other debt instruments in order to sell them, salesmen invented them – and then sold them.
The idea of fake debt or securities legitimately traded has allure, it's equivalents today "zombie bank" and "vulture fund", have rather less.
The worst thing about this slump is that one cannot imaginatively share the experience of financial misery. Unlike other events – wars, royal weddings, rock concerts – crashes induce nothing but fear experienced strictly in isolation. Rather than bringing people together, slumps keep them separate. It would appear that Maoists have reappeared in China, calling for the abolition of capitalism, but we are nonetheless lumbered with the system that failed us – a crucial difference from the 1930s, when millions, not just in the Soviet Union, believed that markets could be superseded.
Much has been shattered in the past months, most of all the illusion that a borderless world, having broken out of the cycles of boom and bust, would run on, held together by little more than the free exchange of goods. Not just New Labour, but the politics of the West are held together by what has proved to be a fiction. For the moment, too, the slump has also diminished the appeal of the notion that, left to itself, abetted by the astute manipulation of interest rates capitalism spreads wealth efficiently, if unevenly, pulling the poor out of their misery. Economists did their best to promote such ideas, but we are guilty of collusion. Did anyone really, outside the think tanks of the market fundamentalist right, buy into the neo-liberal world vision?
A vision of our future was wholly absent from many of the texts I read. But I did find a distinctive hell relevant to our present. Within the world of economists a cult surrounds the darkly pessimistic views of the Austrian-born economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter, who died in 1950. He is remembered for his definition of capitalism as "creative destruction".
Schumpeter bequeathed two important if controversial insights. The first was that capitalism couldn't function even half effectively without a succession of brutally successful entrepreneurs ready to overthrow the existing order. The second was that capitalism wasn't in the least moral, whatever Adam Smith had intimated. It was so unappealing that it was always likely to cause revolts on the part of those whom it had destroyed, ultimately ensuring its own destruction.
Schumpeter would have been fully at home in the present, pooh-poohing worries over millions of jobs lost each month. "I often wonder," he wrote in his diary, "whether there is anything that ever happened that could not be turned into a business opportunity."
Now that the momentary euphoria of the G20 summit is past, economists have returned to the dismal daily figures. Is there anyone who doesn't think that a prolonged slump will cause widespread political upheavals?
Fear and greed are the primary capitalist emotions, but for the slump befuddlement seems more appropriate. As I read about economics, I learnt to identify an expression on people's faces. One could see it not just in the job centres of Middle Britain or Ohio, but among those locked out of Guangzhou toy factories. It was present among the nouveaux pauvres of Palm Beach or Park Avenue defrauded by Bernie Madoff. Japanese Finance Ministers succumbed, so on occasions did Gordon Brown, and economists themselves.
And yet knowing a bit more does help, as I discovered. At least you begin to comprehend what cannot be known to any reliable degree. This is what Liaquat Ahamed told me. "Economics doesn't always tell you about what really happens. There are too many theorists, and practitioners concoct them to order. They are a bit like lawyers." For real understanding, Ahamed thinks we have to turn to history. The fascination of his account of the last slump lies in his insistence that so much suffering could have been avoided in the 1930s – if the powerful had been less blind, cleverer, more compassionate.
If not a magician, we'd like another Keynes, perhaps. However, in a lifetime of polemical activity, Keynes never uttered a word of false reassurance. Economics, he once said, could provide "the circumstances of civilisation". He meant that it was up to the rest of us to decide what we wanted. Economists could only help us achieve that goal. So we do need to tell economists how we want the world to be. And if economists are to fix our world, they need to know more about it.
Nick Fraser is editor of the BBC documentary series 'Storyville'
Ten books you must read to understand this crisis
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
David Cameron's favorite guide to public policy making
THE TRILLION DOLLAR MELTDOWN
Charles R Morris
Shows how financiers failed
JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES
Britain's key economist
LORDS OF FINANCE
How the last crash happened
The relationship between economics and success
THE AGE OF TURBULENCE
Fails to predict the crisis
PROPHET OF INNOVATION
Thomas K McCraw
Joseph Schumpeter's life
How we got into this mess
THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008
THE ASCENT OF MONEY
How money shaped society
Science, Technology and Society
04. The Relevance of Economic Theories to Science and Technology
by Martin Bridgstock and David Burch
06. Science and Technology in the Less Developed Countries
by David Burch
"How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations"
Tom Slee reviews Hayagreeva Rao's Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations:
"Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science?"
This was written by Thorstein Veblen in 1898. It's long, but if you have the time to read it, it's worth it. To me, there is an important lesson here that has been forgotten even by those - or perhaps especially by those - at places like the University of Chicago who proclaim themselves to be positivists in search of the truth.
» Continue reading ""Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science?" "
Podem governos nutrir o espírito inovador?
STEVE LOHRENSAIO - NYT - Folha, 06-07-2009
Inovação -o processo complicado por meio do qual ideias se convertem em produtos e serviços- geralmente é visto, analisado e comemorado no nível micro, como um objetivo de empresários e companhias inteligentes.
Mas os governos cada vez mais entram nesse jogo, declarando agendas de inovação e indicando importantes autoridades para a área. O ímpeto vem de duas frentes: os grandes desafios em campos como energia, meio ambiente e saúde, que exigem a colaboração entre os setores público e privado; e os fracassos do desenvolvimento econômico e das políticas industriais tradicionais.
O interesse pelas políticas de inovação representa uma questão importante: qual o papel apropriado do governo na criação de indústrias e empregos na economia global de alta tecnologia de hoje?
Essa questão animou grande parte da discussão em uma reunião incomum em junho, na Califórnia (EUA). Esse encontro só para convidados foi organizado e moderado por John Kao, ex-professor de economia de Harvard e fundador do Instituto Large Scale Innovation (Inovação em Grande Escala), e reuniu participantes de Austrália, Brasil, Reino Unido, Chile, Colômbia, Finlândia, Índia, Noruega e Cingapura.
"Trata-se de definir uma agenda e formar um portfólio de capacidades que permitem que uma economia e uma sociedade avancem de maneiras mais rápidas e inteligentes", disse Kao. No Reino Unido, começa a tomar forma uma agenda nacional de inovação, com a definição de políticas e a criação de um Departamento para Negócios, Inovação e Capacidades. "Estamos decididos a não adivinhar o futuro tentando escolher vencedores e perdedores", disse Philip Rycroft, oficial governamental que supervisiona a política de inovação. "Mas achamos que o governo pode criar condições para que novas indústrias cresçam com maior facilidade."
Na Índia, o governo e a indústria financiaram pesquisas de novos produtos e serviços que invertem o padrão tradicional de a inovação fluir gradualmente dos países ricos para o resto do mundo, disse R. A. Mashelkar, presidente da Fundação Nacional de Inovação indiana. As primeiras evidências dessa tendência, segundo ele, incluem o automóvel Nano, de US$ 2 mil, e medicamentos de baixo custo para tuberculose e psoríase. "Se você fizer uma coisa para os ricos, os pobres não poderão pagar", disse Mashelkar. "Mas se você criar para os pobres, todo o mundo terá acesso."
Em contrapartida, há quem pense que a política de inovação é só uma forma de o governo interferir em temas que deveria deixar ao mercado. Mas Lars Aukrust, diretor executivo do Conselho de Pesquisa da Noruega, respondeu a essa crítica comparando um país com uma grande empresa. "Se você for dirigir uma grande companhia, vai deixar tudo ao acaso, ou fazer opções estratégicas?", questionou. "A política de inovação é um jogo de probabilidades. Você pode melhorar as probabilidades de sucesso."
Não estudar e não se preparar para a nova realidade é suicídio
Estratégia e inovação numa hora dessas?
Rupturas no padrão de concorrência impõem reconsiderações sobre estratégias até então bem-sucedidas
Em meio à turbulência financeira global em curso, o arco-reflexo empresarial é acertar o caixa, reduzir o endividamento e poupar-se de investimentos arriscados. Apostas para o futuro se apresentam muito perigosas; como avaliar esforços de mudança de estratégia e de promoção da inovação quando não se sabe nem mesmo que mercados e que concorrentes estarão lá no futuro?
Estamos, de fato, de forma radical, sob o império da incerteza. A crise financeira global se desdobra de maneiras variadas e imprevisíveis pela chamada economia real, afetando de diferentes formas setores e empresas. As reações em curso incluem não só os grandiosos movimentos de governos nacionais, mas também a própria revisão das ideias, convenções e instituições que regiam a ordenação da economia global. Tais perspectivas de mudança vêm a se compor com outros processos complexos e de andamento imprevisível, tais como o desenvolvimento dos esforços de prevenção do aquecimento global, os grandes avanços em ciência e tecnologia em diversas áreas, e a dinâmica de inserção da China e das empresas chinesas no tecido produtivo global.
No contexto da crise, considerações sobre estratégia competitiva unicamente centradas no posicionamento no mercado tendem a levar aos movimentos defensivos característicos da reação a retrações econômicas "normais". Tais movimentos incluem a redução de escala e escopo de produtos e serviços; o alinhamento mais "apertado" da cadeia de atividades da empresa ao posicionamento buscado; e a concomitante revisão e redução da base de recursos da empresa. É a lógica de ajuste para atravessar os "tempos difíceis".
A questão é que estes não são apenas "tempos difíceis". São também tempos de mudanças de fundo na economia mundial. E tais transformações estão a se desdobrar para a economia real - estejam ou não já se manifestando hoje num dado setor econômico em particular.
Se as chamadas "rupturas" no padrão de concorrência do ambiente de cada empresa vinham predominantemente de inovações tecnológicas ou de modelos de negócio, tem-se agora que a estas se somam rupturas na estrutura de funcionamento dos setores cujas origens são de fundo sistêmico. Lógicas anteriores de atuação, até recentemente bem-sucedidas, podem, no limite, ter se tornado impróprias, ou mesmo destruidoras de valor, aumentando custos e/ou reduzindo a atratividade de produtos e serviços no novo ambiente em formação. Estratégias que pressupunham alta alavancagem ou que contavam com crédito farto, por exemplo, soam hoje inviáveis.
Tal avaliação do ambiente impõe uma primeira consideração de ordem estratégica: o ajuste na empresa não pode desconhecer a necessidade de preparo para lidar com um ambiente incerto e em transformação.
A retração econômica, se forte no setor, pode demandar cortes na base de recursos na empresa. O crescimento recente tipicamente aumentou a complexidade das organizações. A expansão e a diversificação embaladas por tal crescimento abriram espaço, em muitas empresas, para que operações mais competitivas subsidiassem as menos competitivas. Em particular, na partilha de custos administrativos e de suporte. Cabe adequar o tamanho da empresa. É crucial que este seja um ajuste estrategicamente inteligente.
Por um lado, a organização precisa avaliar e entender onde estão suas reais fontes de vantagem competitiva; que recursos e atividades sustentam quais posições fortes e lucrativas. Pensar sobre tal "enxugamento" pode abrir campo para a descoberta de potenciais competitivos ainda não bem entendidos, e à manutenção de ativos e pessoas em novas inserções significativamente mais produtivas.
Por outro, ela deve preservar e desenvolver sua capacidade de acompanhar, entender e reagir ao ambiente, configurando parte de sua base de recursos e suas atividades para melhor buscar e selecionar cursos de ação; e desenhar, alocar recursos e implementar soluções operacionais e organizacionais que aproveitem tendências emergentes.
Tais considerações não são uma versão complicada do clichê "crise é também oportunidade". Rupturas no padrão de concorrência de um dado setor impõem reconsiderações sobre estratégias até então bem-sucedidas, ao mesmo tempo que abrem espaço para novas inserções. Tal contexto exige ações objetivas das empresas para lidar com ele, para além de meros cortes de custos e investimentos. Ignorar uma realidade deste tipo, não estudá-la e não se preparar para lidar com ela, pode ser, em última instância, uma opção suicida.
Tal constatação remete a uma segunda consideração de ordem estratégica. No contexto atual, cabe considerar a pertinência do amadurecimento e desenvolvimento de capacidade e capacitações para inovação - em produtos, processos e abordagens mercadológicas. O sentido do "ajuste estrategicamente inteligente" anteriormente proposto abrange, portanto, tanto a preservação das habilidades críticas acumuladas pela organização, como a perspectiva de habilitação da empresa para adentrar setores nascentes ou em grande transformação. Em particular, acrescente-se, naqueles onde a base de recursos singulares com os quais a empresa conta possa, de partida, fazer uma diferença.
O futuro é incerto. Mas é certo hoje que ele será fundamentalmente diferente. As empresas brasileiras já passaram pelos ajustes estruturais e organizacionais dos anos 90 e ensaiaram o crescimento sustentado dos últimos anos. Algumas começaram a investir em inovação e a pensar a sua competitividade no âmbito global. Este patrimônio de competências não pode ser desperdiçado. Um ajuste estritamente defensivo, "de volta às trincheiras", é por demais arriscado. Mais do que nunca, é preciso atentar, no momento de lidar com as dificuldades de um tal momento, para a "futuridade contida nas decisões presentes". Esta é a hora da estratégia e da inovação.
Adriano Proença é professor da Escola Politécnica da UFRJ.
Indústria: Finep pode ser capitalizada para ampliar sua capacidade de concessão de crédito
Governo e empresários querem inserir inovação na agenda anticriseFrancisco Góes, do Rio
Governo e indústria estão juntando forças para aumentar os investimentos em inovação. A ação quer, ao mesmo tempo, evitar que a crise reduza os gastos das empresas em pesquisa e desenvolvimento (P&D) e preparar o Brasil para uma maior concorrência quando a economia mundial voltar a crescer. No âmbito público, depois das reduções dos juros nas linhas de financiamento, a agenda volta-se para ampliação do crédito, o que passa pela capitalização da Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (Finep), vinculada ao Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia.
O presidente da Finep, Luis Fernandes, disse ao Valor que até o fim deste mês deverá estar desenhada uma solução para a capitalização da empresa, tema encaminhado na área econômica do governo, o que lhe permitirá ampliar as operações de crédito para inovação. A Finep também quer definir até agosto formas de ampliar a captação de recursos de financiamento para atender a demanda de projetos em carteira que, em junho, somava R$ 3,4 bilhões.
O número considera projetos em todas as etapas do processo de tramitação da empresa, da consulta à contratação. Na comparação com dezembro de 2008, quando a demanda em análise na Finep era R$ 1,6 bilhão, a carteira mais que dobrou. Esse é, segundo o presidente da Finep, um indicador de que setores empresariais veem a crise como oportunidade para ampliar os investimentos em inovação. A disposição de investir em novos produtos e processos ou em P&D, indicada na carteira da Finep, se verifica apesar do adiamento de investimentos na ampliação da capacidade produtiva, como resultado da retração da demanda em um cenário de desaceleração econômica.
Na área privada, a Confederação Nacional da Indústria (CNI) tenta transformar a inovação em um tema prioritário para as empresas, esforço que envolve presidentes de grandes corporações privadas e estatais como Gerdau, Ultra, Brasken, Petrobras, Microsoft, Ford, Coteminas, Fiat, IBM, Eletrobrás, Boticário, Merck, Novartis, Dell e Votorantim, além de associações setoriais e federações da indústria. Em agosto, a CNI vai promover, em São Paulo, o 3º Congresso Brasileiro de Inovação na Indústria quando lançará um "manifesto pela inovação" - posicionamento político com a meta de alçar o tema à agenda estratégica das indústrias.
"A ideia é criar uma consciência sobre a importância da inovação como principal fator de competitividade das empresas na gestão e no modelo de negócio", diz Rafael Lucchesi, diretor de operações da CNI. A busca por consenso em torno da inovação na indústria repete, de certa maneira, o movimento lançado, na década de 90, em torno da melhoria da qualidade nas empresas, que se transformou no Programa Brasileiro da Qualidade e Produtividade (PBQP).
Claudio Gastal, diretor-presidente do Movimento Brasil Competitivo (MBC), entende que é preciso estreitar a parceria público-privada na busca pela inovação. A inovação foi incorporada à Política de Desenvolvimento Produtivo (PDP), a nova política industrial no segundo governo Lula, mas falta, na visão do MBC, que os atores se integrem mais a essa política. "É uma mudança de comportamento", diz Gastal. Por muito tempo, o meio empresarial esteve "divorciado" das atividades científicas e tecnológicas, concentradas em institutos de pesquisa e universidades. Havia baixa adesão dos empresários à temática da inovação e o mundo acadêmico permanecia desconectado, em grande medida, do esforço de desenvolvimento no meio empresarial. Essa realidade está mudando.
Tanto no setor público como no privado parte-se da premissa de que a inovação, em suas variadas vertentes (P&D, novos produtos, processos ou métodos organizacionais e de marketing), é fundamental para a competitividade sustentável das empresas. "Na era do conhecimento, quem não se voltar para a inovação como força motriz do desenvolvimento, termina prisioneiro de uma espécie de novo pacto colonial em que a tecnologia é desenvolvida em determinados polos que os demais (países) aplicam", compara Luis Fernandes, o presidente da Finep.
Ele não quis dar detalhes sobre as negociações em curso no governo para ampliar o crédito à inovação. Disse que o tema evolui de forma favorável. As discussões passam pelas fontes tradicionais de recursos da Finep, que incluem o Fundo de Amparo ao Trabalhador (FAT), o Fundo Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (FNDCT) e o Fundo Nacional de Desenvolvimento (FND). A empresa também opera com recursos próprios. Finep e o Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) poderão passar a ter ações integradas. Uma possibilidade é a Finep atuar como agente financeiro do BNDES no crédito à inovação.
O objetivo da Finep é ter condições de operar a carteira dentro de uma realidade que combina, de um lado, aumento de demanda por crédito à inovação, e, de outro, restrição de recursos como resultado de cortes orçamentários. "Há uma negociação integrada na área econômica para ampliar a capacidade de concessão de crédito e recompor o orçamento do FNDCT, em especial o orçamento da subvenção econômica", disse Fernandes. Segundo ele, está prevista a edição de um decreto que vai recompor, a curto prazo, R$ 100 milhões dos recursos da subvenção, que consiste no apoio financeiro não reembolsável às empresas. O restante seria recomposto ao longo deste semestre.
No total, a Finep viu seu orçamento de 2009 ser reduzido em R$ 1 bilhão e trabalha, por enquanto, com R$ 2,5 bilhões para apoiar a inovação. Desse total, R$ 1,7 bilhão são destinados ao FNDCT para financiamentos não reembolsáveis, incluindo apoio a instituições de ciência e tecnologia, infraestrutura de pesquisa, subvenção e outros. Os R$ 800 milhões restantes são para operações de crédito reembolsável.
João Alberto De Negri, pesquisador do Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas Aplicadas (Ipea), entende que falta ao país uma política de inovação para o período pós-crise. Ele defende a ampliação dos mecanismos de crédito, subvenção e incentivos fiscais para P&D. E prega uma ação articulada entre BNDES, Finep e Petrobras voltada para o núcleo de empresas geradoras de conhecimento novo para a inovação na indústria. São cerca de 700 empresas industriais para as quais o governo teria de garantir financiamentos reembolsáveis de cerca de R$ 3 bilhões, via Finep, com juro zero em operação equalizada via fundo Verde Amarelo, programa de estímulo à integração universidade-empresa. O financiamento teria o objetivo de manter os investimentos em P&D e o pessoal ocupado na área por um período de dois anos.
O presidente da Finep disse que a política de inovação para o pós-crise está inscrita na PDP. Ele reconheceu que até a redução dos juros nas linhas de financiamento à inovação, o que foi possível com a última queda da TJLP, o tema não havia sido incorporado à agenda da crise, diferente dos Estados Unidos que inseriram os investimentos em ciência e tecnologia no primeiro pacote de combate à crise. Agora a agenda volta-se para a ampliação do crédito na inovação, insistiu Fernandes.
Meta é aplicar 0,65% do PIB em pesquisaDo Rio14/07/2009
O Brasil tem como meta na nova política industrial aumentar os investimentos das empresas em pesquisa, desenvolvimento e inovação de 0,51% para 0,65% do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) até o fim de 2010. Para dar esse salto, serão necessários investimentos de R$ 18,2 bilhões, dos quais o Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) se comprometeu a financiar R$ 6 bilhões, disse Helena Tenório, chefe de departamento da área de planejamento da instituição.
A parcela restante, disse ela, será financiada pelo Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (Finep) e pelas próprias empresas. As áreas estratégicas são saúde, energia, defesa, tecnologias da informação e da comunicação (TIC), biotecnologia e nanotecnologia. Os últimos dados disponíveis da Pesquisa de Inovação Tecnologia (Pintec), do Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), de 2005, mostram que de um total de 91 mil empresas industriais, 30,4 mil implementaram produtos e ou processos tecnologicamente novos ou substancialmente aprimorados.
A taxa de inovação, que considera o número de empresas inovadoras sobre o universo industrial da pesquisa, foi relativamente baixa, de 33,4%, e praticamente igual à taxa da Pintec 2003, de 33,3%. Em 2005, nas empresas com mais de 500 empregados, a taxa de inovação foi a maior, de 79,2%. Mas quanto menor a empresa, menor a taxa, como mostra a última Pintec.
Nas empresas com 10 a 49 empregados, por exemplo, a taxa foi de 28,9%. Para as gerentes da Pintec, Mariana Rebouças e Fernanda Vilhena, o aumento da taxa de inovação depende de esforços das micro, pequenas e médias empresas. "A cultura de mobilização pela inovação tem que ser maior na pequena e média empresa", disse Mariana.
O Movimento Empresarial pela Inovação, organizado pela Confederação Nacional da Indústria (CNI) para tornar o tema uma prioridade nas empresas, envolve o Sebrae. O objetivo é ampliar o número de pequenas e médias empresas que fazem inovação com foco, inclusive, nos arranjos produtivos locais (APLs). Pretende criar o prêmio nacional de gestão na inovação como forma de mobilizar as pequenas e médias empresas em relação ao tema.
Ainda segundo a Pintec, 5 mil indústrias das áreas extrativa e de transformação gastaram cerca de R$ 7 bilhões em P&D em 2005. Desse total, 690 empresas, que empregavam mais 500 pessoas, investiram R$ 5,6 bilhões em P&D. No setor de serviços, 1,1 mil empresas desembolsaram R$ 3,27 bilhões em pesquisa e desenvolvimento. No total, entre indústria e serviços, 6,1 mil empresas investiram R$ 10,3 bilhões em P&D.
Fernanda Vilhena, a gerente da Pintec, disse que em 1º de agosto o IBGE começará a pesquisa do período 2006-2008. Os resultados serão conhecidos em julho de 2010. Haverá equipes coletando informações por telefone e diretamente nas empresas. A nova Pintec vai incorporar o novo conceito da inovação que inclui, além de gastos em P&D, a implementação de produto novo ou aprimorado, de processo ou novo método organizacional e de marketing. (FG)
BNDES tem R$ 6,4 bilhões para investir na áreaDo Rio14/07/2009
A carteira do BNDES no apoio à inovação soma R$ 6,4 bilhões. O número considera operações em andamento desde o ano passado e cobre todas as fases de tramitação no banco: da consulta ao desembolso, passando pela contratação, aprovação, análise e enquadramento. De janeiro a maio deste ano, os desembolsos totalizaram R$ 484 milhões, incluindo linhas e programas de inovação e financiamento de bens de capital para médias e pequenas empresas. Em 2008, os desembolsos nessas áreas somaram R$ 1,3 bilhão.
No planejamento estratégico do banco para 2008-2009, a inovação aparece como prioridade e está refletida nas políticas operacionais em termos de prazos e taxas de juros, disse Helena Tenório, da área de planejamento do BNDES. O banco passou a financiar, via cartão BNDES, a contratação de serviços de pesquisa, desenvolvimento e inovação para micros, pequenas e médias empresas. O prazo para pagamento vai de 3 a 48 prestações fixas e o juro é de 1% ao mês. Os micros e pequenos empresários podem contratar em instituições científicas e tecnológicas serviços de pesquisa aplicada ao desenvolvimento de produtos e processos.
Luis Fernandes, presidente da Finep, afirma que a lógica é usar o investimento público para fomentar o investimento privado em inovação. A meta, segundo ele, é que os investimentos públicos e privados em ciência, tecnologia e inovação atinjam 1,5% do PIB em 2010 (o percentual era de 1% em 2006). O objetivo é que o governo federal participe com 0,64% e os Estados com 0,21%. A diferença, de 0,65%, é o investimento do setor privado. (FG)
Modelos inovadores de produção é um dos fatores principais de avaliação global
A nova métrica do desenvolvimento
Se olharmos a inovação como fim em si mesma, correremos o risco de alimentar um discurso destituído dos valores
Novas formas de mensuração do desempenho das nações vêm sendo experimentadas. Quando se trata de refletir sobre o futuro global, vemos que estes exercícios relativizam o peso do Produto Interno Bruto na caracterização do desenvolvimento. E podemos considerá-los cada vez mais orientadores na complexa leitura do nosso tempo.
Um ranking publicado na revista "The Economist" mede o progresso de países pelo seu grau de inovação. É um dos conteúdos mais interessantes sobre a matéria já publicados pela conceituada revista. Ressalvando apenas que Japão, Suíça, Estados Unidos, Suécia e Finlândia permaneceram na liderança, deixemos de lado, por uma questão de espaço, as posições ocupadas na última edição pelos países desenvolvidos. A partir do universo abrangente desse estudo, registremos o desempenho das nações emergentes, entre as quais o Brasil. O levantamento fornece tabelas com base em dados sobre patentes internacionais, insumos, resultados e ambiente favorável a projetos nesta linha.
Apesar de o Brasil ter melhorado sua colocação nas previsões para 2009/2013, em comparação ao período anterior, a China aumenta bem mais fortemente o desempenho, em contraste sobretudo com a pequena melhoria da Índia. O país comunista beneficia-se do ímpeto de sua expressão econômica, esforço concertado para melhoria da base tecnológica e investimentos em P&D muito superiores aos demais emergentes.
Cabe lembrar igualmente a edição regular do Academic Ranking of World Universities, que reflete o interesse dos chineses em conhecer as instituições capazes de receber seus estudantes e inspirar avanços internos do ensino superior. Foi neste processo que a liderança daquele país decidiu investir, nos próximos dez anos, expressivos recursos adicionais nas Universidades de Peking e Tsinghua.
A China já é líder mundial no número de pessoas engajadas em ciência e tecnologia. Em 2005, representava 6% do número de artigos científicos publicados no mundo (1,6% em 1995) e agora é o quinto país na mesma escala. Os seus egressos do ensino superior formados em cursos de ciências e engenharia representam 40% do total, o que significa quase o dobro da média da OCDE e muito acima dos 15% registrados nos Estados Unidos. Grande parte do investimento direto na China dirige-se a segmentos inovadores da indústria. Exige-se das empresas estrangeiras ali instaladas que montem laboratórios de pesquisa no país.
Se no ranking de avanço tecnológico aquele país asiático distinguiu-se notavelmente e situa-se bem à frente do Brasil, em outro estudo, focado na sustentabilidade ambiental, invertem-se as posições. Tratemos aqui do Environmental Performance Index (EPI) - Rankings & Scores, da Yale University, coordenado pelo professor Daniel Esty.
O EPI identifica metas de performance ambiental amplamente aceitas e medidas relativas à proximidade de cada país a cada uma destas metas. Como um indicador quantitativo de controle da poluição e de identificação de resultados da gestão dos recursos naturais, o índice fornece uma poderosa ferramenta para a melhoria das políticas sustentáveis e de aprimoramento da tomada de decisões com base em fundamentos analíticos mais sólidos.
Como na análise do Índice de Inovação, destacamos o desempenho ambiental de países emergentes, incluindo o Brasil e a China. Os resultados mostram-se eloquentes: o Brasil no 2º lugar, abaixo apenas do Chile, e a China ocupando a 7ª posição.
A métrica do desenvolvimento, que ainda tem no PIB a sua referência decisiva, é também questionada pela Comissão Stiglitz-Sen, assim chamada porque tem à frente dois ganhadores do Prêmio Nobel, Joseph Stiglitz (2001) e Amartya Sen (1998). A "Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress" está revendo cálculos e parâmetros na avaliação das contabilidades nacionais. Busca um indicador que transcenda o PIB atual, não restrito aos números da produção, mas considerando igualmente o êxito de políticas públicas.
No âmbito corporativo, muitas empresas reconhecem que o desenvolvimento da inovação "in-house" nem sempre é financeiramente aconselhável no longo prazo. Estão se movendo para projetos em rede, ampliando a busca de inovação para o espaço global.
Modelos inovadores de produção e um crescimento em bases sustentáveis constituem fatores principais dos bem-vindos métodos de avaliação global. Cabe realçar, porém, que a inovação deve favorecer o consumidor, preservar os recursos naturais e a biodiversidade, conduzir ao bem-estar geral e representar um capítulo importante na construção da ética do futuro. Se olharmos a inovação pura e simplesmente como fim em si mesma, sem considerar judiciosamente os princípios que a orientam, correremos o risco de alimentar um discurso aparentemente modernizador, porém destituído dos valores que tornam legítimo seu conteúdo.
Jacques Marcovitch é professor da FEA e do Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IRI) da USP. http:// www.usp.br/mudarfuturo / A obra "Crescimento Econômico e Distribuição de Renda: Prioridades para Ação"(Edusp/Senac) da qual foi o organizador, recebeu na categoria melhor livro de Economia, Administração e Negócios, o Prêmio Jabuti 2008.
Escapando ao limbo tecnológico
Os linotipos dos jornais não se tornaram obsoletos do dia para a noite
Propelidas pela pressão por inovação, empresas tecnológicas acatam os conselhos de gurus de gestão sobre como desenvolver produtos criativos e pioneiros.
Novas tecnologias são evidentemente importantes, mas até mesmo no ambiente em mutação atual elas podem demorar muito tempo a substituir suas predecessoras. E, enquanto isso, inovações incrementais baseadas em velhas tecnologias podem ajudar uma empresa a sobreviver.
Quando a Sony anunciou sua câmera eletrônica Mavica, em 1981, as manchetes trombetearam que "o filme fotográfico está morto". Mas foram necessários 28 anos para que o Kodachrome de fato morresse, em junho passado.
A realidade é que a maioria das tecnologias termina por desaparecer. Mas os executivos atuais não precisam presumir que o destino de uma velha tecnologia esteja predeterminado. As empresas podem administrar o jogo da inovação. Melhoras continuadas que prolonguem a vida de uma tecnologia, especialmente se consideradas as margens atraentes que as velhas tecnologias podem oferecer, podem ser uma sábia decisão de negócios.
A chave é estender a vida lucrativa daquilo que é velho por tempo suficiente para que tenha uma chance no mundo do novo. Mas como?
... .... ...
Panayotis G. Michaelides and John G. Milios
Joseph Schumpeter and the German Historical School Cambridge Journal of Economics Advance
Access published on November 18, 2008 Camb. J. Econ. 2009 33: 495-516; doi:10.1093/cje/ben052 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Request Permissions]
Characterising deindustrialisation: An analysis of changes in manufacturing employment and output internationally
Cambridge Journal of Economics Advance Access published on November 18, 2008 Camb. J. Econ. 2009 33: 433-466; doi:10.1093/cje/ben032 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Request Permissions]
TEORIA DO DESENVOLVIMENTO ECONÔMICO DE SCHUMPETER: UMA REVISÃO CRÍTICA
Spurring Innovation, Creating Jobs
Posted by Katherine Brandon on August 05, 2009 at 03:57 PM EDT
The President spoke directly and personally to the audience in Elkhart County, Indiana today: ...........
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE ECONOMY
Office of Science and Technology Policy
A Look Inside Obama's Innovation Strategy
Larry Summers Blogs (!) About Innovation
September 21, 2009 4:43 pm 1 comment
... ... ... ... .. ... ... ...
P.S. Summers points readers to a recent NEC white paper laying out the broader innovation strategy, which is probably worth a read. In: Docs.Google: A STRATEGY FOR AMERICAN INNOVATION: DRIVING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND QUALITY JOBS (NEC White Paper)
Obama's Strategy for American Innovation
Posted by: Helen Walters on September 22, 2009
“Innovation is more important than ever,” declares President Barack Obama in a white paper released yesterday. A Strategy for American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs doesn’t exactly break new ground, but the 22-page report does present a good snapshot of where we are now. ... ... ... ... .... .... .... + coments..
Structuring U.S. Innovation Policy: Creating a White House Office of Innovation Policy
June 24, 2009
June 24, 2009
In a new report, Structuring U.S. Innovation Policy: Creating a White House Office of Innovation Policy, released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Duke Law School professors Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai propose that the Obama administration (or Congress, if Congress is willing) create an Office of Innovation Policy that would draw upon, and feed into, existing regulatory review processes but would have the specific mission of being the “innovation champion” within these processes. ... ... .... ... .... .... .... ..
Youtube: White House Leadership on Innovation Policy: The Case for an Office of Innovation Policy
Innovation: The Way Forward?
Mark Muro - Policy Director, Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program
September 14, 2009
With speeches by White House economic advisor Larry Summers on Friday and President Obama today on Wall Street, the Obama administration is moving from triage as the chief aim of economic policy to recovery.
.... ..... ...... IMPORTANT
Boeing Receives ‘Smart Grid’ Grants From US Department of Energy
December 5, 2009 — aviationnewsrelease
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 3, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] on Nov. 24 was selected to receive federal stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a three-year study to improve the efficiency and reliability of the United States’ power grid.
“For years, Boeing has developed secure, .... ... ... ..... ..... .... .... .... ...
Structuring U.S. Innovation Policy: Creating a White House Office of Innovation Policy to
by stuartminor benjamin and artik. rai June 2009
Innovation & the Commercialization of University Research
Modelo Linear.... etc...
The Science of Spending Stimulus Money Wisely
By MIGUEL HELFT and MAGGIE FAZELI FARD
Published: October 17, 2009
Dr. Wim Leemans, a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, shows a touch of parental pride for the hulking machine he affectionately calls T-Rex — a high-intensity laser that pushes electrons around. But a new machine called Bella — formally, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator — is uppermost on his mind these days. ... ... ... .... .... .... .... .... .... ....
Innovation in Policy Analysis
Joseph R. Cerami
Department of National Security and StrategyU.S. Army War College (1)
I nnovat ion analysis in theory and pract ice - A pragmat ic and policy perspect iveOpening presentat ion to UKERC Workshop on innovat ion in energy systems: learning from economic, inst itut ional and management approaches
Oxford, 22 March 2006
Michael Grubb, Chief Economist, The Carbon Trust
Visiting Professor of Climate Change and Energy Policy, Imperial College, London, &
Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University
Repensando o que vem antes: ciência ou tecnologia?Considere qual seria a situação da ciência sem o microscópio, o telescópio ou um avanço técnico mais recente, como o sequenciamento automático do DNA.
Ainda haveria ciência, enraizada na percepção e na razão humanas. Mas seria muito menos poderosa que a ciência moderna, que expandiu tecnologicamente os sentidos e -com os computadores- o intelecto, para explorar e decifrar a realidade, do próprio universo à mais fugaz partícula subatômica.
A opinião popular é de que a tecnologia é menos pura e mais comercial que a ciência. Mas, em "The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves" (A natureza da tecnologia: o que é como evolui), o economista W. Brian Arthur reenfoca a relação entre ciência e tecnologia em um esforço para chegar a uma teoria abrangente da inovação. ... ... ... .. .... .... ... ..
Bengt-Åke Lundvall as EU ambassador for Creativity and Innovation
Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems - by Bengt-Ake Lundvall p4v5
Lundvall parte 1