On the Many Flavors of Capitalism or Reflections on Schumpeter's Ghost
John Henry Schlegel
University at Buffalo Law School
August 5, 2008
Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-21
Most legal scholars treat capitalism as a genus with one species. The appearance of several books that argue to the contrary suggests that it is sensible to revisit this assumption. Discussion begins by considering the constructed nature of markets, the importance of market systems, and the role of financings as the factor distinguishing capitalism from other forms of a market economy. Thereafter, four articulations of the varieties of capitalism are reviewed: the classic Marxist one, one by a political economist, another by a pair of comparative political scientists, and third by a trio of economists. This review leads to a discussion of the notions of efficiency and an "institution," as well as to Schumpeter's vision of the entrepreneur and to the place of change in economic life. An examination the way varieties of capitalism manage change leads quite directly to an exploration of socialism and its relationship to capitalism. Then piece suggests that capitalisms probably vary on far more dimensions than might be derived from the understandings reviewed and that how any specific capitalism handles economic change is both crucial to an understanding of that capitalism and an important insight into the nature of the society in which it is embedded.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: Capitalism, Socialism, Markets, Market Systems, Financing, Efficiency, Institution, Schumpeter, Economic Change, Baumol, Hall & Soskice, Lindblom, Reich
Date posted: August 6, 2008
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