Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” as Want to Read:
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,098 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy remains one of the greatest works of social theory written this century. When it first appeared the New English Weekly predicted that 'for the next five to ten years it will cetainly remain a work with which no one who professes any degree of information on sociology or economics can afford to be unacquainted.' Fifty years on, this predi ...more
Paperback, 460 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Taylor and Francis (first published 1942)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
LiB I think this question is asking if the book discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the presidential system? Not much and only tangentially,…moreI think this question is asking if the book discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the presidential system? Not much and only tangentially, although there is some discussion of the US system of democracy. Schumpeter discusses English parliamentary democracy in much more depth actually.(less)
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam SmithDas Kapital by Karl MarxThe General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money by John Maynard KeynesThe Road to Serfdom by Friedrich A. HayekThe Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
Best Economics Books
344 books — 459 voters
The Republic by PlatoThe Prince by Niccolò MachiavelliCapital, Vol. 1 by Karl MarxPolitics by AristotleThe Concept of the Political by Carl Schmitt
Politics
315 books — 430 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,098 ratings  ·  86 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Edward
Introduction

--Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

Prefaces and Comments on Later Developments:
Preface to the First Edition, 1942
Preface to the Second Edition, 1946
Preface to the Third Edition, 1949
The March into Socialism

Notes
Index
Hadrian
Brilliant at times, but also pigheaded — my star rating would only detract from a more comprehensive understanding of the book — deserves more time and effort than I can spare here, so I'm going to instead present a fraction of my notes

Schumpeter might be loosely grouped with the other Austrian School of economists, but I see traces of him in some neo-Marxist thought, including Wallerstein and Sweezy, as well as many of the neo-Keynesians—

Schumpeter is arguably most famous for his phrase and ide
...more
Joe
Comment:

In the end it will be seen that the greatest enemy of capitalism was always democracy, i.e. the will of the people. Once the people turn anti-capitalistic, under the influence of a disaffected intelligencia, there is absolutely nothing that can stand against them. Schumpeter at one and the same time believes that Capitalism is the most adequate description of economic reality and that it is doomed. How is this possible? - But it is exactly as the Savior of the Christians said so long ago
...more
Marks54
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a classic of economics and of entrepreneurship that lots of people have read in their undergraduate economics or business classes. It is worth reading to get the full perspective of Schumpeter's view of how the economy works. This is perhaps the most articulate statement on the role of of "creative destruction" and innovation as critical to the success of capitalism. It is also also very cynical of Marxist approaches to economics. Strangely enough, the section on socialism suggests that ...more
Eric Baldwin
It shows how democracy is a vast conspiracy, elections are fraudulent, individual votes are useless, and human nature is corrupt.
Jim Puskas
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Schumpeter is best remembered for having coined the term "creative destruction" a process well understood today whereby entire industries and the jobs that go with them are continually rendered obsolete as new products, new technologies, new ways to make money emerge. Schumpeter speculates about the possibility of a democratic socialist utopia, but he unconvincingly discounts the reality of human acquisitiveness and the desire for upward mobility. Further, he naïvely discounted the authoritarian ...more
Andrew
Mar 14, 2013 added it
Shelves: economics
In the wake of the Second World War, Joseph Schumpeter wrote an exceptionally intriguing book that everyone, capitalist or socialist in persuasion, should read, and will probably enjoy reading. Heavily inspired by Marx and especially his theory of history, as much a sociological as an economic text, and broad-ranging in its analysis of the relationship between capital and society, it's a difficult book to pin down, and clearly the product of a remarkable thinker.

The question-- which all propheti
...more
Patrick
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Schumpeter lived a very, well, Schumpeterian lifestyle, battered up and down and around the world by the winds of economic turmoil. He argues that this undulating dynamism is in fact the defining attribute of capitalism and the reason it has been so undeniably successful at achieving economic growth. Unlike most economists he defends capitalism warts-and-all: He fully recognizes that we have never lived in anything like a perfectly-competitive efficient market, and goes on to say that we wouldn' ...more
Whitlaw Mugwiji
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It is a great read, especially for those interested in the political economy. It is Schumpeter’s best book, which is famous for popularising his acclaimed theory on capitalism, "creative destruction". Definitely not a light read, it took me forever to finish. But it was worth the read. I must confess, it is a difficult read even for those with an economics background, or those who have read Hegel’s dialectics or Karl Marx’s interpretation of history through dialectic materialism, as these theori ...more
Tyler
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am finished with this book finally and I think I have read a glimpse into Marx a little more. I have read Marx's Communist Manifesto before, believe it or not, and it was one of the first books on economics I've read. Well that state of mind was very similar to many others in the early 20th century as they read the pamphleteering of various political party interests.

This work discounts some of the more radical notions but retains some of the core tenets of Marxist communism. A thorough look a
...more
Otto Lehto
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Schumpeter was a fascinating character, and his essays and books are fascinating to read. They seem to elude easy categorization. This particular book evinces an almost Hegelian dialectical method, whereby socialism and capitalism are seen as two sides of the same modernist coin.

The section on capitalism contains the analysis of "creative destruction", which is justifiably well-known. But that only takes up a few pages, whereas the rest is devoted to a historical analysis of the conditions unde
...more
Mehmed Gokcel
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got to read selective parts of this book and thought the analysis of Marxist thought was incredibly insightful and Schumpeter's prediction of capitalism's end compellingly argued. Particularly his analysis of Democracy as a mode of self-determination both politically and economically leads to the argument that it is inseparable from socialism. He is not a fan of this outcome, but is inclined to give credit to the power of this motive in determining systems of governing and economics.
Stevenglinert
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Schumpeter must have been a really shitty human being to hang out with. And his dating profile must have been intolerable to even read. Schumpeter does a better take-down of socialism and Marx than Hayek or Von Mises, but never gets into any libertarian sounding nonsense and his shtick about capitalism is the best pitch I've heard for it in awhile. Also for a book about economics, it's written in like, the most bitchy tone.
Curtis
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. An Austrian economist I can read and agree with most of the time. One of the best analysts since Weber.
Buck
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
For someone who criticizes others for being prolix, he sure can ramble. Visionary economic foresight though.
O O
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having heard of Schumpeter mostly from conservative authors, and this book in particular for the introduction of the idea of “creative destruction”, I was tempted to read “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” after also finding out that in it, someone affiliated with the Austrian School was anticipating an upcoming end of capitalism.

The book has five major parts: Marx, capitalism, socialism, and democracy, plus a brief history of socialist parties. Having only negligible familiarity with Marx’s
...more
Sean Rosenthal
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting Quotes:

"The...process of industrial mutation...incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure FROM WITHIN, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism...The problem that is usually...visualized is how capitalism administers existing structures, whereas the relevant problem is how it creates and destroys them."

-Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy


"There are ultima
...more
Edward Tse
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough book, but a vitally important book for understanding the subtle relationships between capitalism, socialism and democracy, especially in its explanation of how capitalism works through 'creative destruction'. Originally published in 1942, 1947 and 1950, this book still has wide applications for today, especially those sections dealing with entrepreneurship, central planning, and democratic processes. But beware, the points Schumpeter makes in this book are extremely subtle, and one canno ...more
Nick
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Famous for two things, creative destruction and the theory of democratic elitism. Most of the work is about socialism, its history and why he thought it would triumph over capitalism. His democratic elitism, which I used for a paper, is a lot like Woodrow Wilson's idea of presidential leadership, of the will of the people being incoherent and contradictory, and the necessity of elites to present coherent visions of leadership through open competition.
Ethan Jacobs
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- His writing style is a little tough to engage with at times, but his astute and eye-opening analysis of the progression of capitalism certainly made this book worth reading. The ouline of socialism with its somewhat arduous details, while necessary to appeal to his audience, was a bit... dull. I guess that the reality of a potentially effective socialism just isn't very romantic. All in all, worth the read.
M
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Chapters 21 and 22. I do really like his two conceptions of democracy. Perhaps a little too pessimistic when it comes to the stupidity of the population, especially in political matter. Chapter 22 was great, and I think the role of leadership in a democracy is too often overlooked. Conception of democracy as the power struggle between the political elite very interesting.
David
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eggheads
The man can turn a phrase. Very enjoyable, though the economics content is rather minimal beyond Chapter 8. After wrestling with the question over the past few months, I have to disagree with McCraw's thesis that this was a satire. And with that, the logic on the end of capitalism seems weak. Most of my colleagues loved reading this, but certainly not all.
Vitaly Repin
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book.

I think that this is "must read" book for everybody who is interested in the perspectives of capitalism and socialism and their connections with democracy. The book was published in the middle of XX century but it is still very valid for our time.
Philip Chaston
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting exploration of how Schumpeter tried to reconcile socialism and democracy. Like Marx, the trends he identified did not last ten years. He thought they might outlive the C20th.
Neil Rempel
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hard book, will need to reread it in the future....slower!
Radwa
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: study
I didn't read the whole book; i enjoyed what i read, although the language was quiet difficult for me. . .
Eugene Kernes
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
This book is an artful explanation of Marxism, capitalism, socialism, and democracy. Always starting from the concepts intended purpose, the way the concept was meant to be. Followed by the criticism of the concept and the way the realities of the world interact with it. Schumpeter shows a critical eye towards everything he tries to explain.

Schumpeter can be described as eclectic, while at the same time point to how eclectic Marx was. Sociology and economics made Marx seem like a prophet. The e
...more
Tina Doncheva
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite the title, the book does little justice to socialism (although focusing on Marx in the first about 50 pages) or democracy. That being said, the book is a great reading about capitalism - its essence, its virtues and its defects. And it is mostly such from an economic point of view, despite Schumpeter's slight efforts to touch a bit on history, sociology and psychology.

Not being an economist myself, I found the book hard to read, yet, once one grasps Schumpeter's language and point of vie
...more
Zach Mazlish
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a mix of brilliant insights and feeling quite confused. Schumpeter writes in a style where he assumes a fair amount of prior knowledge, which makes parts where one does have that knowledge feel jam-packed with thought-provoking comments, but other parts (particularly the beginning and ending sections focused on Marx and specific historical developments) hard to follow. I also definitely struggled to follow some of his economic arguments, and need to read more about how his analysis ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • German Ideology
  • Estado y revolución
  • Principles of Political Economy: And Chapters on Socialism
  • The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
  • The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
  • The Affluent Society
  • The Constitution of Liberty
  • Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance
  • The Limits to Capital
  • Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality
  • The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph
  • The Firm, the Market, and the Law
  • The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups
  • The Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Economics
  • Capitalism and Modern Social Theory
  • Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics
  • Stabilizing an Unstable Economy: A Twentieth Century Fund Report
See similar books…
129 followers
Joseph Alois Schumpeter was an Austrian American economist and political scientist. He briefly served as Finance Minister of Austria in 1919. One of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Schumpeter popularized the term "creative destruction" in economics.
“Geniuses and prophets do not usually excel in professional learning, and their originality, if any, is often due precisely to the fact that they do not.” 35 likes
“In one important sense, Marxism is a religion. To the believer it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of life and are absolute standards by which to judge events and actions; and, secondly, a guide to those ends which implies a plan of salvation and the indication of the evil from which mankind, or a chosen section of mankind, is to be saved.” 9 likes
More quotes…