Most of Schumpeter’s approach revolved around promoting the benefits of free trade and capitalism. This helps explain the views he held about imperialism, as he believed this was a hindrance to the functioning of the ‘free market’. His views on empire building were expressed in The Sociology of Imperialism in 1918. It was at a time when many were intellectuals were reflecting on the Great War and attempting to offer explanations as to why the tragedy happened.
Schumpeter defined imperialism as ‘the objectless disposition of a state to expansion by force, without assigned limits’. The British ‘state’ by 1918, was still dominated and controlled by an aristocratic elite, despite the fact that the franchise had been extended to the working classes and most of the population had some representation in parliament. The elite took an interest in the expansion of trade and investment opportunities and therefore embraced the entrepreneurialism of the middle classes. Schumpeter believed that the aristocracy as an institution was so firmly entrenched in British society that it would never give way to the challenge posed by business and professional people. This made them even more determined to protect their status, which they proceeded to do by pushing for the expansion of the Empire. Land acquisition meant prestige which widened the political power between the aristocrats of Europe. This led Schumpeter to…