Lives of the Great Social Scientists

Yesterday was anecdotes about G. D. H. Cole lifted wholesale from other people’s blogs. Today we turn to Joseph Schumpeter, and to Marc Mulholland:

Coffeehouse Spat: Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter were mutual admirers and quite good friends. Nevertheless, there were tempremental differences, as this circa 1919 anecdote, extracted from Swedberg’s biography of Schumpeter, describes:

“Both had met in a Vienna coffee-house. In the presence of Ludo Moritz Hartmann and Somary. Schumpeter remarked how pleased he was with the Russian Revolution. Socialism was no longer a discussion on paper, but had to prove its viability. Max Weber responded in great agitation: communism, at this stage in Russian development, was virtually a crime, the road would lead over unparalelled human misery and end in a terrible catastrophe. ‘Quite likely’, Schumpeter answered, ‘but what a fine laboratory.’ ‘A laboratory filled with mounds of corpses’, Weber answered heatedly. ‘The same can be said of every dissecting room’, Schumpeter replied. Every attempt to divert them failed. Weber became increasingly violent and loud, Schumpeter increasingly sarcastic and muted. The other guests listened with curiousity, until Weber jumped up, shouting ‘I can’t stand any more of this’, and rushed out, followed by Hartmann, who brought him his hat. Schumpeter, left behind, said with a smile: ‘How can a man shout like that in a coffeehouse?'”

How indeed?

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