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The Schumpeter Corporation Paradox: Corporations as the Communal Investment

blue glass front of a skyscraper reflecting other skyscrapers to the left, portrait of the speaker to the right
Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 12:30 am – 1:30 pm

The Department of Legal Studies cordially invites you to the upcoming Brown Bag seminar with Doctoral Candidate Mark Warren on Wednesday, November 22, 12.30 – 1.30 pm. Mark will present his paper “The Schumpeter Corporation Paradox: Corporations as the Communal Investment”. It looks at the role of the corporation in society but is attempting to frame the topic through a different lens: the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter alongside considering the historical development of the corporation. You can find an extended abstract below.

The seminar will be held in hybrid format.

Zoom details:

Join Zoom Meeting

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 999 4177 8879

Passcode: 936004

Room: BS B-319



Joseph Schumpeter, in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, recognised that the insatiable capitalist process was increasingly relying on corporations as the form of business organisation that maximises profits. However, this advance of capitalism, the corporation, was creating a communal vehicle that was diminishing the individual rights and relationships that supposedly distinguish capitalism from socialism. The author labels this the Schumpeter corporation paradox. This paper considers the modern manifestation of the Schumpeter corporation paradox but places this phenomenon in both its historical and legal context. In terms of history, the early corporations were recognised as closely tied to the state, holding sizable economic and political power that often extended to foreign lands. In terms of law, corporations have always derived their power from the legal rights afforded by the state. In this respect, this paper reminds readers of the historical significance of the corporate form and that the modern manifestations of corporate power are neither unique to our time nor necessarily an indication of capitalist excess. Rather, as highlighted by Schumpeter, the capitalist corporation may still unwittingly serve as a conduit towards social objectives and communal investment that (directly or indirectly) determines the wealth of the population.