Creative destruction in times of covid

Creative destruction in times of covid
July 12, 2020

Save for a few industries such as health care, it is safe to assume that investment in innovation will plummet during the covid-19 pandemic. It usually does in times of crisis. Venture capital (vc) will also dry up as everyone keeps their heads down and tries to preserve cash. In 2007-09, vc funding in America fell by almost 30%. Yet this column would not be named after Joseph Schumpeter, the father of creative destruction, if it did not believe that following a slump, a burst of entrepreneurial activity will eventually emerge. As he wrote in “The Theory of Economic Development”, published in 1911 (itself a recessionary year), “the very logic of the capitalist system [is that] after some time of depression, new entrepreneurs would emerge. And then there would be a new ‘swarm’ of entrepreneurs. A wave of prosperity would start up and the whole cycle would roll on.” Assuming this remains the case, will the protagonists be tiny startups coming out of nowhere? Will they be better-funded entrepreneurs who have long prepared for such a moment? Or will they be the titans of tech?

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