Jean Lievens: Peter Murphy on Creative Economies and Research Universities

Academia, Commerce, Design, Economics/True Cost, Ethics, Innovation, Knowledge
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

This is a pre-publication article. It is provided for researcher browsing and quick reference.The final published version of the article is available at:

‘Creative Economies and Research Universities’ in M.A. Peters
and D. Araya (eds) Education in the Creative Economy: Knowledge and Learning in the Age of Innovation (New York: Peter Lang, 2010), pp 331-358.

After the Culture Wars, now come the Economy Wars

When the world recession in 2008 began, the economy wars, which had beendormant for two decades, flared again. After thirty years of the culture wars, this came as a bit of a relief.

In one corner, we had the followers of John Maynard Keynes(1883-1946), who were filled with a kind of self-belief that we had not seen since the1960s. They had a few scores to settle. In another corner were the market-friendly followers of Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) and Milton Friedman (1912-2006). They were looking a bit bloodied after having dominated public policy for two decades.Looking on skeptically from outside the ring was another cohort, the admirers of Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950). These were, as usual, less combative than the other pair, and had a quizzical eye trained on both of the pugilists. Part of the skepticism of the Schumpeter camp was a wariness of public policy tout court. It didn’t matter whether this was a policy bent on big government or one inlove with small government.

Schumpeter had been a student of the great Austro-Hungarian Empire Finance Minister, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Schumpeter himself was the first Minister of Finance of the modern Republic of Austria. He seemed to take away from that unusually intimate experience of public policy a strong sense of the need for economists to look beyond the policy cycle, and explore the deeper structures and long-run temporalities of economies. Schumpeter was a great economist who at the same time understood the power of history and society inshaping economies. He also appreciated the power of the imagination. He observed that modern capitalist economies were driven as much by creative impulse and imaginative insight, as they were by the more commonplace behaviors that arose outof greed, interest, need or calculation. It was not that societies could not — or should not — control such behaviors or encourage them, depending on prevailing economic philosophy. It was just that some of the most decisive economic outcomes could not be determined by such policy tools. Somewhere beyond them, in a larger social-historical zone, lay the human drive to innovate and create.

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