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Schumpeter on who gains from mass production

the capitalist engine is first and last an engine of mass production which unavoidably means also production for the masses, whereas, climbing upward in the scale of individual incomes, we find that an increasing proportion is being spent on personal services and on handmade commodities, the prices of which are largely a function of wage rates.

Verification is easy. There are no doubt some things available to the modern workman that Louis XIV himself would have been delighted to have yet was unable to have—modern dentistry for instance. On the whole, however, a budget on that level had little that really mattered to gain from capitalist achievement. Even speed of traveling may be assumed to have been a minor consideration for so very dignified a gentleman.

Electric lighting is no great boon to anyone who has money enough to buy a sufficient number of candles and to pay servants to attend to them. It is the cheap cloth, the cheap cotton and rayon fabric, boots, motorcars and so on that are the typical achievements of capitalist production, and not as a rule improvements that would mean much to the rich man.

Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.

Joseph Schumpeter – Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

See also:

Joseph Schumpeter on qualitative gains from capitalist growth
Schumpeter on primitive accumulation and Marx’s guffaw
Technology (13): Marx, Schumpeter, Howard Head’s Tennis Racquet, and how the world melts
Karl Marx on the power of capitalism and globalisation

Qin Hui on the Illusion of Capitalism, and Socialist Market Economies
On Getting-Rid-of-Capital-ism

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