Stuff I Nick from O&M

Tag: Stuff I Nick from O&M

The Capitalist & The Entrepreneur

Professor Klein explaining the difference between "Austrians" and "Australians"

The Capitalist & The Entrepreneur is a new book that contains some of the collected works of Austrian economist and Oliver Williamson student, Peter Klein.  Professor Klein is the source of some of our juiciest material — define juiciest how you will — on the nature of the relationship between the entrepreneurship and the theory of the firm.

This could be your lucky summer if you happen to be a fan of Professor Klein, as he is teaching a course, Entrepreneurship in a Capitalist Economy. The course meets every Tuesday night beginning June 7 and running into September.


On the internets, of course.

For those of you with interest in the course or the book, both Professor Galambos and I have copies for your perusal.

Are Patents the Engine of Growth?

Great post by Richard Langlois at the Organizations and Markets blog about the extent to which “James Watt’s steam-engine patents retarded innovation in steam technology and slowed the British industrial revolution.”

Typically, we teach that the patent is an imperfect solution to the “appopriability” or “positive externality” problem, where individuals and firms are reluctant to innovate because they cannot capture the full value of their efforts due to competitors copying the innovation.  The patent offers temporary monopoly power in exchange for the inventor disclosing technical information to the public. Watt certainly benefited from that protection.

In this case, however, some say the patents were so broad in scope that they allowed Watt to stifle competitors altogether.  There is an on-going discussion in the innovation world about this “strategic patenting,” and the Langlois piece is a nice introduction if you are interested.

Rumor has it that Professor Langlois’ book, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, will be featured in this fall’s I&E Reading Group.  Watch this space.

Schumpeter Day Tea, That Is

The folks over at Organizations & Markets remind us that it’s Schumpeter Day again (where does the time go?). The nation-wide celebrations commemorate the birthday of the prominent economist, who plied us with such memorable lines as this:

The process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism … it is not [price] competition which counts but the competition from . . . new technology . . . competition which strikes not at the margins of profits . . . of existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.

The Economics TBA / Schumpeter Day High Tea at 4 p.m. today (along with “Reading Days”) will serve as a kick off for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Reading Group. We will begin blogging the text later this week.

See you at 4

Update: The tea was once again a resounding success, with the student faculty ratio of better than 3:1. I still think offering caffeine could boost our numbers.