Creative destruction

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Creative destruction (German: schöpferische Zerstörung) is a term that came from Marxism. It talks about how wealth is gathered and lost under capitalism. The term was first used in Werner Sombart's Krieg und Kapitalismus ("War and Capitalism", 1913) These ideas were first discussed in books The Communist Manifesto (1848), in Grundrisse (1857) "Volume IV" of Das Kapital (1863).

Origin and meaning[change | change source]

Creative destruction is supposed to describe a theory of how the destruction of economic order leads to capitalistic economic ideals. A German Marxist sociologist (Sombart) is credited for using it first in his 1913 book Krieg und Kapitalismus, which means "War and Capitalism" in English. The works and publications of Marxists such as Karl Marx himself, and Friedrich Engels, a socialist scientist, discuss the ideas of creative destruction.

In and after the 1950s, the term became associated with Austrian-American economist Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter is credited for making the theory popular. However, his idea of creative destruction was quite different from Marx's original theory. The term gained popularity within neoliberal or free-market economics where it is used to described processes such as downsizing. The original Marxist usage has, however, been maintained in the work of influential social scientists such as David Harvey, Marshall Berman, and Manuel Castells.