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Capital as Will and ImaginationSchumpeter's Guide to the Postwar Japanese Miracle$
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Mark Metzler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451799

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451799.001.0001

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Flows and Stores

Flows and Stores

(p.53) 4 Flows and Stores
Capital as Will and Imagination

Mark Metzler

Cornell University Press

This chapter approaches the question of capital by way of some basic ecological-economic conceptions. Joseph Schumpeter's theory of capital focuses attention on the “two flows” of the economy: on the one hand flows of materials and energy, and on the other flows of financial claims. Economic activity is “a combination of two unavoidable circulations,” Schumpeter wrote, “which express two irreducible forms of activity,” industry and finance. Frederick Soddy also commenced from the starting point of flow, seeking to ground economic understanding in a physical conception of energetic flow. This view of human economy as energetic process leads in a still more heterodox direction, connecting to a stream of ecological-economic thought that is only recently coming together in the pages of journals such as Ecological Economics. This perspective also highlights constitutive contradictions built into the capital-provision process, drawing attention from the “credit” side to the “debt” side of the credit/debt process. Here monetary savings, from which investment is conventionally said to “flow,” is socially speaking a kind of debt.

Keywords:   Joseph Schumpeter, capital, flow, Frederick Soddy, monetary savings, debt

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