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Schumpeter on Politicians

I am thoroughly enjoying Prophet of Innovation, Thomas McCraw’s new biography of Joseph Schumpeter.  Reading it reminds me of a long-harbored desire of mine to do a blog-post filled with many of the stunningly brilliant insights from Part II (“Can Capitalism Survive?”) of Schumpeter’s remarkable 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.  (I first read this book as an undergraduate, a happy fact that forever immunized me against taking textbook theories of competition too seriously.)  I’ll do that blog post soon.  For now, though, I content myself with sharing these two quotations that McCraw reports (on page 405 of his biography) are from the mid-1940s Schumpeter’s diary:

Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with keeping in the saddle that they can’t bother about where they go.


A statesman is the criminal who works with phrases instead of with the burglar’s jimmy.

(Don’t miss Russ’s podcast with Thomas McCraw.)