Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 33: Wilhelm Georg Friedrich Roscher (1817–1894)
Roscher was born on 21 October 1817, in Hanover into a family of civil servants. From 1835 he studied history, philosophy and linguistics in Göttingen and then classical philology and history in Berlin. He obtained his doctorate in Göttingen in 1838, his habilitation in 1840 and then became a lecturer there in history and economics and public finance (Staatswissenschaften). In 1842 he published his historical study about Thucydides and only one year later his Grundriß zu Vorlesungen über die Staatswirthschaft, nach geschichtlicher Methode (Outline of Lectures on the Public Economy, Using the Historical Method). This work made him, together with Bruno Hildebrand (1812–1878) and Karl Knies (1821–1898), one of the founders of the so-called “Older Historical School of Economics” in Germany. In 1848 he was appointed to a chair at the University of Leipzig, where he worked on his monumental magnum opus System der Volkswirthschaft. Hand- und Lesebuch für Geschäftsmänner und Studierende (System of Economics. Hand- and Reading Book for Businessmen and Students), which comprises altogether five volumes and whose first volume saw numerous editions. For the history of the sciences in Germany, a project launched by the historical commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Roscher contributed his Geschichte der National-Oekonomik in Deutschland (History of Political Economy in Germany) in 1874, a work of more than 1000 pages. In 1892 he published Politik: Geschichtliche Naturlehre der Monarchie, Aristokratie und Demokratie (Politics: Historical Natural Doctrine of Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy), which contains an...
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