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’Entrepreneurs “from within” ? Schumpeter and the emergence of pure

The development of a dynamic model of endogenous economic change was a major objective for Schumpeter throughout his academic career. This requires, among other things, explaining the emergence of pure novelty, which Schumpeter never managed to do. As an explanation for this failure, existing literature put forward a methodological tension stemming fromSchumpeter’s walrasian commitment. In this paper, we propose that Schumpeter’s inability to build an endogenous theory of pure novelty is not only the mere logical consequence of his unsuitable methodological approach but the purposeful outcome of his “theory” of how novelty is generated. We show that he could not depart from an individual and elitist dimension of entrepreneurship and from an energetic and vitalist axiom of social change, which is by nature hardly compatible with endogenous evolution. Furthermore, our revisiting of his last writings shows that, while there have been clear changes in his thinking on the entrepreneur, the “old” Schumpeter remained rooted in an individualistic, elitist, and energetic view of the apparition of pure novelty. These findings have important implications for understanding Schumpeter’s thinking and, in particular, his vision of capitalism, socialism, and economic development.