Class activities. Schumpeter on Imperialism


In  The Sociology of Imperialism (1919), Schumpeter moved forward to the interaction of economic and non-economic factors in the analysis of imperialism. In fact, he considered the relevance of the construction of an “economic sociology” in the study of historical change. His increasing concern in “groups and classes” as the real agents of change in the capitalist world-economy was reinforced within the analysis of the nature and manifestations of imperialism in history. Schumpeter highlighted that

a) imperialism has involved empires,

b) imperialism has dealt with nations and territories,

c) imperialism has revealed the subordination of a society to other by the threat of force, and

d) imperialism could involve national conflicts between social classes.

Considering the relevance of class activities that foster the students’ participation, the discussion of Schumpeter’s contribution could involve, at least, three aspects of the contemporary debate on imperialism and globalization:

  • the evolution of institutions in the capitalism system;
  • the challenges to overcome the conflicts that overwhelm the activity of specific groups of interest within national states;
  • the social configuration of those “groups and classes” that could shape the capitalist world-economy dynamics.


1 comment
  1. Good for Schumpeter! A complete “economic sociology” has already been developed before him. It is called Marxian economics. And the very same Schumpeter praised “Marx as a sociologist” for his historical materialism, class analysis and what not… However, he looks down on Marx’s economics without making any significant contribution beyond it (See his apologetic intro to the “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy.”

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