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International Schumpeter Society Conference 2nd -5th July 2012, Brisbane
von Tony Irawan
The International Schumpeter Society Conference was held at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, from 2nd July to 5th July 2012. The conference was attended by more than 200 participants from all over the world. Most participants came from Europe.
The University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus is considered by many to be Australia’s most attractive university campus. It is located seven kilometers from the city’s heart on a magnificent 114-hectare site in a bend of the Brisbane River. We could go to the campus by the City Cat ferry service (about 20 minutes) or bus services (about 10 minute). In my case, I stayed in New Farm and I used the City Cat ferry services (about 35 minutes) in order to go the conference site.
In total, the ISS Conference had 5 (five) plenary sessions and 9 (nine) parallel sessions in four days. In the first plenary session, Prof. Ping Chen from China and Prof. Kuen Lee from South Korea presented very interesting ideas about the emergence of Asian countries, focusing on China and South Korea. Both argued that the emergence of East Asian countries such as China and South Korea as competitive countries in the world is due to the knowledge factor which is strongly correlated with Schumpeter’s view on innovation. Prof. Ping Chen focused on technological progress in the framework of neo-classical growth theory. Based on neo-classical growth theory, technological progress is defined as random shocks in a diffusion process. Moreover, he also presented some features of economic development in East Asia as compared to Western civilization. First, Eastern civilizations focused largely on mode of division of labor based on resource-saving and labor-intensive technology, whereas Western civilizations used labor-saving and resource-intensive technology. Secondly, governments of East Asian countries tend to intervene strongly in the economy and play a significant role as the “helping hand” to guide the “invisible hand” of the economy. Thirdly, East Asian countries have accelerated their learning and imitating processes. Finally, the East Asian countries succeeded with their land reform process and have improved the efficiency of agricultural sector. In the following session, Prof. Franco Malerba, Prof. Alan Hughes and Dr. Terry Cutler presented the policy aspect of innovation. Dr Cutler argued that the important linkages between innovation, competitiveness and productivity have largely disappeared from the political discourse.
On the second day, Prof. Deidre McCloskey and Dr. Jason Potts provided us with very interesting insights regarding the knowledge, entrepreneurship and the evolution of markets. Prof. Deidre McCloskey argued that Schumpeter ignored the theory of language. Dr. Jason Potts argued that innovation emerged from a group of society who are free to originate, develop and utilize technology based on their needs. He proposed the importance of a “commons” as an effective institution for innovation.
In the 4th plenary session, Prof. David Lane and Prof. Peter Allen were quite pessimistic about the role of innovation in the future. Prof. David Lane argued that economic and political responses to its endogenous crises are not adequate to ensure that the Innovation Society is socially or environmentally sustainable. Finally, in the last plenary session, Prof. Stan Metcalfe, Prof. Giovanni Dosi and Prof. Ulricht Witt presented their ideas about the future of Neo-Schumpeterian evolutionary economics. They agreed that there is one factor that is still missing in Schumpeterian economics. The basic idea of Schumpeterian economics is innovation as a creative destruction. Many researchers still focus on the “creative” side of innovation and ignore the possible “destruction” that could be created by innovation.