Social Scientist. v 11, no. 124 (Sept 1983) p. 47.


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PRABHAT PATNAlK-^

Marx, Marshall and Schumpeter

PROFESSOR S CHAKRAVARTY's little monograph on Marx, Marshall and Schumpeter containing the text of the R G Dutt Lectures delivered by him at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, in the year 1980 is an important and valuable work.1 In a sense it has all that one can ask for: it is lucid, it is erudite and it is provocative. At a time when interest in the traditions of economic ideas is unfortunately on the decline, this publication by one of our most distinguished economists is a welcome event. Whatever differences one may have with Professor Chakravarty's line of argumentation, and I for one have several differences which I shall shortly elaborate, one cannot but hope that this slim volume is read widely and accorded the attention which it so richly deserves.

At the outset Šne is struck by the very title of the book. Marx's stature as an economist would be recognised today even by the majority of bourgeois economists. Marshall occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of economic thought as a founder of so-called "neo-classical" economics and of the very influential Cambridge School within it. But Schumpeter, oddly enough, has never wielded much influence, let alone a degree of influence comparable to Marshall, not to mention Marx. He never succeeded in building up any school of thought. Detached from the Austrian school to which he owed his origins, and overshadowed by Keynesianism with which he never sympathised, Schumpeter ploughed a lonely furrow, and did so increasingly unsuccessfully. Vf^s closest disciples deserted to the Keynesian camp during his life-time. And even after the intervening decades, when a certain disillusionment with Keynesianism is visible, there is hardly any sign of a Schumpeter-revival in bourgeois economics.

Not that Schumpeter ever was or is forgotten. His monumental History of Economic Analysis has all along remained obligatory reading:

whenever innovations and technical progress are talked about, as they must in any discussion of the capitalist growth-process, the obligatory reference to Schumpeter is alway there. But the total theoretical system which he developed with such single-mindedness and care, hardly has

*Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru Universty, New|DeihL



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