How it all began...
(Original text: "Looking Back After 10 Years" by Mark Perlman, December 1996. Text partially supplemented and updated lateron)
The year 2001 marked the fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. On the bases of its increasing membership and the universal acceptance of its defined research fields, the Society´s development has been healthy, even exemplary.
After fifteen years it is appropriate to look back at the Society´s history, including its organizational development, the roles of the members of its Executive Committee, and its published research products.
The idea for this Schumpeter Society sprane in 1984 from collective minds of Wolfgang F. Stolper and Horst Hanusch. Using the questionaire method, they sought information within the economics profession about the need for and acceptance of such an effort. The response was so positive that Hanusch undertook the organizing, both as to place and with regard to invited papers, for a founding congress. That event took place in September 1986 at the Haus St. Ulrich Conference Center in Augsburg.
From the legal-organizational standpoint, the constitutive session involved Wolfgang F. Stolper, Moses Abramovitz, George Catephores, Gunnar Eliasson, Horst Hanusch, Arnold Heertje, Ernst Helmstädter, Claude Jessua, Gerhard Jooss, Heinz Lampert, Mark Perlman, Horst Claus Recktenwald and Yuichi Shionoya, with Stolper, Helmstädter, Morishima, Perlman and Hanusch actually signing the incorporation documents.
The scientific part of the 1986 founding conference was devoted to Evolutionary Economics, with special focus being on the range Schumpeter´s influence. The topics covered a broad area ranging from industrial economics, evolutionary macro theory, development economics and even took consideration of the role of government. This conference´s Proceedings, published as Hanusch, Horst (ed.) Evolutionary Economics - Applications of Schumpeter´s ideas (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), served as the first volume in the Schumpeter Society conference series.
Wolfgang Stolper - a long-time family friend and student of Professor Schumpeter, the originator of the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem, and a leading development economist - served as the founding president of the Society until immediately after the Augsburg conference. At that point, he asked to be relieved of the presidency because of physical strength limitations. Arnold Heertje - famous as a Dutch macro economist, editor, and builder of the one of the great libraries of the original economics first editions - took over both the office and the responsibility for organizing the next meeting´s program (1988).
Since Heertje´s time, the presidency has been held by: Mike Scherer (1988-90), Yuichi Shionoya (1990-92), Ernst Helmstädter (1992-94), Gunnar Eliasson (1994-96), Dennis Mueller (1996-98), J. Stan Metcalfe (1998-2000); Robert F. Lanzillotti (2000-2002), Franco Malerba (2002-2004).
The president´s principal responsibilities include the organization of a conference and the co-editorship of its proceedings.
A few words about the particular achievements of each of the Society´s presidents: One of the reassuring successes during Heertje´s time was an increase of the membership to more than 200, in process of which attracting sophisticated and established scholars from such sub-fields as Schumpeterian Economics, Evolutionary Economics, Austrian Economics, the Economics of Technological Change, the New Institutional Economics, and the History of Economic Thought individually.
Heertje (together with Alessandro Vercelli and Massimo DiMatteo) organized the 1988 conference, held in Siena, a conference centering on market structure in the context of evolving technologies. Many of the contributed papers were of an empirical nature; some dealt nearly exclusively with the question on whether there is a Schumpeterian approach to economic change. The conference proceedings were published as: Arnold Heertje and Mark Perlman (eds.), Evolving Technology and Market Structure - Studies in Schumpeterian Economics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990).
Frederic Scherer´s special task when he undertook the Presidency in 1988 was to increase American interest in the Society. His conference, held at "Airlie House", Airlie/Virginia in 1990, attracted large numbers of American and Canadian colleagues to the Society. This time the focus was on entrepreneurship and economic growth, two aspects which had not explicitely been on the agenda of the previous conferences. The proceedings, published as Frederic M. Scherer and Mark Perlman (eds.) Entrepreneurship, Technological Innovation, and Economic Growth - Studies in the Schumpeterian Tradition (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992) included essays on organizational aspects of the firm, the importance of firm size, the appropriateness as well as some papers on economic growth.
Having traveled to the American hemisphere the Society then moved its biennial conference to the Far East, to Kyoto, Japan - a country very much admired by Schumpeter. The President (1990-1992) was Yuichi Shionoya, a universally recognized historian of economic, particularly Schumpeterian, thought.
During his time as President there was a shift in membership. Quite a number of older colleagues left the Society and younger scholars got attracted. The tremendous efforts in making the Society more known, the well perfectly organized and very much appreciated previous conferences as well as the publication of the conference proceeding 1986, 1988 and 1990 showed gains. In order to have those younger colleagues keeping their membership to attend the Society´s conference should be affordable for them. To provide for this Yuchi was forced in a way to raise the appropriate funds. By these times the Japanese economy was still runing well and he succeeded in providing accomodation and travelling when organizing (together with Akahiro Goto) the Kyoto conference. We all remember this event as very exotic and plentiful as was the scientific programme Yuichi arranged. In principle he had two main topics: the first one dealt with the new findings in innovation research and the second one refered to historical papers dealing with Schumpeter and his work. Out of the large number of sophisticated papers Yuichi Shionoya and Mark Perlman selected contributions published in Innovation in Technology, Industries, and Institutions and in Schumpeter in the History of Ideas.
With Ernst Helmstädter one of the most prestigious economists in Germany took over presidency in 1992. The Society´s management and its conference returned back to its founding country. During this term the development of the Society progressed in calm with a steadily increasing membership. Thus, Ernst Helmstädter had the time to influence the Society besides his scientific approach with his favour for the arts. The new logo for the Society´s letterhead was created by him and his 1994 conference at Münster was very elegant in style where scientific work was accompanied by musical intermezzos and culturally interesting social events. For the scientific programme of the conference Ernst Helmstädter decided three main topics. The first one dealt with behavioural aspects, a discussion which is to be seen as one of the core differences between Schumpeterian/evolutionary economics and the neoclassical approach. In a second part papers were presented which deal with an evolutionary economic dynamics. Those two mainly theoretical parts were accompanied by empirical papers covering a broad range of topics. A selection of these contributions can be found in Behavioural Norms, Technological Progress and Economic Dynamics - Studies in Schumpeterian Economics edited by Ernst Helmstädter and Mark Perlman.
In 1994 Gunnar Eliasson, the well known Swedish economist from Stockholm and father of MOSES, came into office. As expected Gunnar was very ambitious to organize a conference with a clear-cut title and with papers which deal closely with the general topic. Given this he managed to evaluate the largest number of submissions to a Schumpeter conference since 1986. Out of this he then designed a conference working plan which gave adequately weight to theoretical and empirical studies, and where also the methodological aspect of Schumpeterian/evolutionary economics was discussed. Under the topics discussed the concept of spillovers was one of the highlights because this has not been discussed expilicitely at the previous conferences. Based on his world wide connections to researches Gunnar also succeeded to invite sophisticated speaker not closely tight to the Society: Nobel Prize winner Douglas C. North and the protagonist of disequilibrium theory Robert Clower. Those talks as well as selected contributions of the conference were published in a proceedings volume edited by Gunnar Eliasson and Christopher Green.
Dennis C. Mueller, the famous public choice and industrial economist, took over presidency of the Society in 1996. He succeeded in shifting the Society´s research interest also to fields beyond the core Schumpeterian, or Neo-Schumpeterian, topics and in focussing also on Schumpeter´s ideas in public choice. In Vienna - the place Schumpeter admired and where he had spent several years - Dennis organized a high level conference in 1998, punctuated with inspiring and charming social events like the "Heurigen" in Grinzing, the "Kaffeehaeuser" and Palais Ferstel. The scientific program of the conference took up Schumpeter´s "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy". Accordingly the title of the event was "Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century". Many of the papers presented used exactly this phrase as title or subtitle. The well-reputed Oliver Williamson and Peter Bernholz took up the topic in their opening plenary speeches. But of course, besides this, a number of sessions discussed traditional Schumpeterian themes, such as economics of innovation, and evolutionary economics. Selected papers of the Vienna conference were published in a special issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Economics (J Evol Econ Vol. 10, 2000, Nos. 1-3) titled "Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century", and under the same title as a book edited by Dennis C. Mueller and Uwe Cantner.
In 1998 Stan Metcalfe, one of the leading evolutionary economists and one of the most prominent promoters of evolutionary ideas within economics, became president of the Society. Under his supervision in 2000 the Schumpeter conference (the Millenium Conference), returned to the origin of the industrial revolution, to Manchester. Under the heading: "Change, Development and Transformation. Transdisciplinary Perspectives on the Innovation Process" Stan set up a highly sophisticated scientific program which covered almost all areas and niches of Neo-Schumpeterian and evolutionary economics, attracting more than 250 participants from all over the world. For the first time during a Schumpeter Conference a special poster session for younger researcher was organized, and the best paper was awarded. A highlight of the conference was a special session to mark the 50th anniversary of Schumpeter´s death. Three representatives of succeeding generations of Schumpeter´s scholars, Giovanni Dosi (St. Anna School, Pisa), Richard R. Nelson (Columbia, New York) and Wolfgang F. Stolper (Michigan, Ann Arbor) provided a memorable discussion of Schumpeter´s ideas and its very relevance for the modern research agenda in evolutionary economics as the economics of innovation. Selected papers of the Manchester Conference are to be published in the near future.
The scientific activities of the Society are enhanced by the Schumpeter Prize Competition and the Journal of Evolutionary Economics (JEE). In cooperation with the German economics weekly "Wirtschaftswoche" the Society awards the Schumpeter Prize. During the 1986 conference in Augsburg the idea to have such a prize was born and Wolfgang Stolper and Horst Hanusch negotiated with "Wirtschaftswoche" about the rules and the prize awarded. Starting in 1988 the Schumpeter Prize is bienally given to the best work related to a given topic.
Starting in 1992, the Society decided to have its own Journal and adopted the Journal of Evolutionary Economics. With this decision the members find a forum for their ideas and concepts which they can frequently use. Moreover, since the conference proceedings are restricted in space, a number of excellent papers are published in the Journal. It was founded in 1991 by Horst Hanusch and Mark Perlman. Starting with 1997 Mark Perlman resigned his active engagement and Steven Klepper took over office. As of 2001 Uwe Cantner, formerly associate editor to the journal, is now also managing editor.
Besides the individual influences of the respective presidents, the development of the Society has also been intensely shaped by the Society´s Editors as well as the Secretary General. As mentioned above for all the conferences a proceedings volume had been edited. In charge of this had been since 1986 the Society´s Editor Mark Perlman, the world-wide known labour economist and economic historian, who is also well-known as the founder of the Journal of Economic Literature. Mark always did a marvelous job. Clear-cut in argumentation and straightforward in strategy did he mangage to get all the authors sticking to deadlines, layout formats and manuscript length. Additionally, his comments on the papers were (most of the time) appreciated very much and by this he was continuously responsible for the high quality of all volumes. In 1992 Christopher Green took over editorship, since 1998 Uwe Cantner is General Editor of the Society.
The success story of the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society would not have been as described without an efficient basic organization. This is provided by Horst Hanusch, the Society´s Secretary General. Keeping the financial matters in order, distributing information to the membership by the way of newsletters, conference announcements and other mailings, dealing with legal matters in Augsburg, and last but not least, assisting the presidents in organizing conferences is obviously a background job which often does not receive the merits it deserves.
Finally, it is of course also the membership which makes up the Society. Not only that the participation at the conferences has always been overwhelming but also in the years inbetween those events suggestions for a better running Society where continuously made, tremendous efforts had been undertaken in the various committees, and the ideas and aims of the Society had been promoted world wide.
For establishing a research field and for gathering the researcher engaged in this field 15 years is not a long time. The Society did already a very good job during the first decade and we all are looking forward to the next - at least.