The difficult connection between Nietzsche’s philosophy and economics has only been very recently examined. This essay examines (a) the introduction of Nietzsche’s particular meaning of “creative destruction” in economics and (b) the philosophical justification of this notion. In so doing, the paper evaluates the conflicting evolutionist and Nietzschean interpretations of “creative destruction.” It is difficult to reconcile these two metaphors in order to demonstrate that the will for power offers a better interpretation of the “creative destruction” mechanism than does the fight for life.
This article is in line with previous works aiming to analyze Schumpeter’s entrepreneur and Nietzsche’s superhuman together. Both share a creativity that can be interpreted as the externalization of an extra force. The latter, through Nietzsche’s perspective, is very close to the extra-moral source of the increase of life. But what we have not analyzed yet is the context in which each of them operate: is it the same? Beyond a historical approach of the economic cycle, we suggest that a philosophical approach turns out to be fruitful for a larger interpretation of such a cycle. Moreover, it could both complete and extend our conception of the superhuman and the entrepreneur.
R. Robb (2009a) has recently initiated a reconciliation of the will to power from Nietzsche’s philosophy with economics and, more specifically, with the modeling of agents’ behavior. He wanted to highlight the inconsistency of the standard economic approach with the will to power, on the one hand, and presents examples that supposedly show that, in many situations, the second has a higher explanatory power than the first, on the second hand. This thesis gives rise to a controversy on these two points with J. J. Heckman (2009). This polemic has many shortcomings due to a superficial and sometimes erroneous conception of Nietzsche’s philosophy, supported by the use of a source that is well-known as being faulty. This article aims to reassess the controversy, based on Nietzsche’s text as restored by Colli and Montinari. We try to draw a better lesson from Nietzsche’s philosophy for agents’ behavior.