Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 32: Bruno Hildebrand (1812–1878)
Bruno Hildebrand is known as one of the three founders of the German Historical School. His book Die Nationalökonomie der Gegenwart und Zukunft (The Economics of the Present and the Future) became a classic in the history of economic thought (Hildebrand 1844). He was born on 6 March 1812 in Naumburg (Saale, Thüringen), of modest origins. He participated at the age of 14, without the knowledge of his parents, in a competition for admission to the famous elite school Schulpforta and succeeded, being accepted with a grant. The thorough knowledge of the ancient languages and of history obtained there remained important in his later life as a basis for his studies of the economic history of the ancient world and for his understanding of history. His liberalism was inspired by classical ideals of humanity and citizenship, but also by the intellectual currents of his time; it was less based on individualism and the desire to minimize state action than the liberalism of the classical English economists. He participated in the student movements, which fought for constitutional government. He studied theology only briefly at Leipzig, then philosophy, languages and history, obtained his doctorate in 1836 and, having taught at a gymnasium, became Extraordinary Professor in 1839 and was called to Marburg as Full Professor of Staatswissenschaften (Economics) in 1841. The range of his lectures was characteristically much wider than that of his publications. Hildebrand served as Vice Rector of the University of Marburg in 1845, parliamentarian in the National...
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