Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy | Study Guide

Joseph A. Schumpeter

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Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy | Part 5, Prologue : A Historical Sketch of Socialist Parties (Prologue) | Summary

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Summary

Schumpeter's brief Part 5 Prologue acknowledges that it is "not for me to write a history of the socialist parties." Instead, he offers a brief sketch, which he acknowledges is necessary to put into perspective a lot of his preceding judgments and insights. He also acknowledges that his sketch puts an emphasis on Marxist parties that some may find objectionable. He highlights these parties, nevertheless, because he is fascinated by the close relation of socialist policy to "doctrinal basis" in Marxism.

Analysis

This short chapter is a simple introduction that justifies two choices: to include a historical sketch (that is, a brief, tentative account) of the socialist parties of the industrial world and to emphasize the Marxist parties in this analysis. The former is a welcome admission that he does not intend to be perfectly expansive or vigorous in his assessment of the parties. His admission anticipates many possible criticisms of his accounts. The latter choice is justified anyway by Schumpeter's interest in discussing Marx as the earlier portions of his book.

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