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Chapter 53: Gustav von Schmoller (1838–1917)
53 Gustav von Schmoller (1838–1917) Helge Peukert The man and his time Gustav von Schmoller, the main representative of the younger German Historical school, was born on 24 June 1838 in Heilbronn, where his father had been Kameralverwalter of the Württembergische ﬁscal interests since 1833, a family tradition deeply inﬂuencing young Schmoller and which goes back to 1651, when an ancestor became a public servant. After ﬁnishing Gymnasium in Stuttgart in 1856, he stayed for one more year in his father’s ofﬁce, learning a lot about ﬁnancial and administrative law. In 1857, he began to study ﬁnancial, state and administrative law at the University of Tübingen as the start of a career as a civil servant. Furthermore, he attended lectures in philosophy, history (under Max Duncker) and even the natural sciences (for his biographical background, see Balabkins, 1988, chs 1–4; Kaufhold, 1988). The combination of economics (called ‘national economics’ at the time) and history is already manifest in his ﬁrst major scientiﬁc undertaking ‘Untersuchung der volkswirtschaftlichen Anschauungen zur Reformationszeit’, written in 1860. It is a study of the economic conceptions of the Reformation period, with which he won ﬁrst prize in a competition and for which he was awarded his PhD. In this study the main question of his intellectual life already played a major role: the tension between the necessity of an individual sphere and a strong, market-regulating state. The second part of his time as junior barrister he passed at the...
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