The Influence of Friedrich von Wieser on Joseph A. Schumpeter

  • Warren J. Samuels


Within the last year I have been privileged to work on the careers and contributions of Friedrich von Wieser and Joseph A. Schumpeter. I have worked with W. E. Kuhn, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to secure his translation (and forthcoming publication) of Wieser’s Das Gesetz der Macht (The Law of Power), for which I have written an introduction. In addition, I have written a critique of Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, given as two lectures in March 1982 at the University of Notre Dame in a series devoted to a reconsideration of the book on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary.


Economic Analysis Social Economy Economic Order Economic Sociology Historical Education 
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  1. 1.
    Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 6. Apropos of natural science, Schumpeter undoubtedly understated the role of the past in its development, a matter now clearer after the work of Thomas Kuhn.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Seymour E. Harris (ed.), Schumpeter: Social Scientist (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951), p. 29.Google Scholar
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    Paul Samuelson has written: ‘Being the son of Schumpeter, I am the grandson of Böhm-Bawerk and Menger. Being the son of Leontief, I am the grandson of Bortkiewicz and am the great-grandson of Walras’ (Paul A. Samuelson, The Collected Scientific Papers of Paul A. Samuelson, R. C. Merton (ed.) (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1972), vol. 3, p. 684).Google Scholar
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  17. 37.
    Ibid., p. 192. Of course, one cannot expect affinity to mean identity. Thus, for example, although, as Johnston (Austrian Mind, p. 84) notes, both Wieser and Schumpeter shared a ‘horror of ideology’, the two disagreed as to the significance of the Austrian psychological approach to economics. Suranyi-Unger, Economics, p. 69, Emil Kauder, A History of Marginal Utility Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), p. 122; see also ‘On the Concept of Social Value’,Google Scholar
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    in Joseph A. Schumpeter, Essays, Richard V. Clemence (ed.) (Cambridge: Addison-Wesley, 1951), pp. 1ff.Google Scholar
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    Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, p. 795, n.29. The only reference to Wieser in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, 3rd edn (New York: Harper, 1950) is a citation that Weiser had hinted at the Barone solution in his Natural Value, which first appeared in 1889 (p. 173, n.2).Google Scholar
  20. 39.
    Joseph A. Schumpeter, Imperialism and Social Classes, Bert Hoselitz (ed.) (New York: Meridian Books, 1955), pp. ix–x.Google Scholar
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    Friedrich von Wieser, Das Gesetz der Macht (Vienna: Springer, 1926), translated by W. E. Kuhn,Google Scholar
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    with an Introduction by Warren J. Samuels, as The Law of Power (Lincoln: Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska, 1983), ch. 12, sec. 5.Google Scholar
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    The following discussion is based in part on my Introduction to the translation of Das Gesetz der Macht (n. 43 above) and my ‘A Critique of Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy’, in Charles Wilber, Capitalism and Democracy: Schumpeter Revisited (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  26. 54.
    Friedrich von Wieser, Natural Value, William Smart, trans. (London: Macmillan, 1893; first published as Der Naturliche Werth, 1889), pp. 58–60, 242, and passim. For Schumpeter’s view, see his ‘On the Concept of Social Value’, pp. 2, 4, 6.Google Scholar
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    Bertrand de Jouvenal, On Power (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962), p. 177.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Warren J. Samuels 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren J. Samuels
    • 1
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityUSA

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