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Joseph Schumpeter’s Credit View of Money: a Contribution to a “Monetary Analysis” of Capitalism

Joseph Schumpeter’s Credit View of Money: a Contribution to a “Monetary Analysis” of Capitalism

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 12 (no. 4),

This paper highlights Joseph Schumpeter’s monetary thought, which appears to be neglected, compared to his theory of innovation and entrepreneurship. In particular, the author addresses his completely unknown writing “Das Wesen des Geldes” focused on the topic of money. This book uncovers the “essence” and the logic of money and credit that stem from Schumpeter’s experience as the finance minister and the president of a private bank. Relying on this experience, Schumpeter rediscovers and deepens the credit theory of money, which interprets the money as an institution and a social accounting system, with the banking system seen as the central agency of capitalism. “Das Wesen des Geldes” is particularly interesting, since it is the outcome of Schumpeter’s elaborations within the framework of the German Historical (Ethical) School headed by Gustav Schmoller. This was followed by his moving to the United States, and his views reversed to support the neoclassical framework in line with Marshall – Taussig canon. The fact that “Das Wesen des Geldes” was not published posthumously until 40 years after it was written, shows the coercive power of the rules within the communities of academic economists.


Keywords: money as an institution; money as accounting system; credit theory of money; Schumpeter; banking system as the central agency of capitalism; functions of central banks

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