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My "middle way" media studies

  • Cunningham, Stuart D.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2009
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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I would argue that the problems that contemporary capitalism gives rise to are not the result of the classic exercise of power and hegemony characteristic of the monopoly phase of capitalism but of the “creative destruction” of such a phase. Schumpeter’s famous phrase is reflective of Lash and Urry’s (1987) notion of “disorganised capitalism” or of Robert Reich’s (2007) claim that large corporations have significantly less power now than three decades ago. The consequence is that there is a need to explore an economic “middle way” in debates about the narrative of the relationship between culture and economy, between the Scylla of total explanatory political economy and the Charybdis of tedium-by-case-study. This involves a Schumpeterian emphasis on entrepreneurial or enterprise economics (Cunningham, Banks, and Potts 2008). Schumpeter, in 1962, in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, argued that Marx had “no adequate theory of enterprise” and failed to “distinguish the entrepreneur from the capitalist” (quoted in McCraw 2007: 349). Schumpeter, his most recent biographer, Thomas McCraw, “told of capitalism in the way most people experience it: as consumer desires aroused by endless advertising; as forcible jolts up and down the social pecking order; as goals reached, shattered, altered, then reached once more as people try, try again.” He knew that “creative destruction fosters economic growth but also that it undercuts cherished human values” (p. 6). Schumpeter’s most recent biographer, Thomas McCraw, says that he elucidated what capitalism “really feels like” (as quoted in McCraw 2007: 349, 6).

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