Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I
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Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.
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Chapter 25: Friedrich List (1789–1846)

Stefan Kolev and Joachim Zweynert


Friedrich List has been characterized as one of the most renowned German economists, along with Karl Marx (Häuser 1989: 30). Like Marx, he was not a person involved only in academia, and thus his economic œuvre cannot be understood without knowledge of his political vision of a free and united Germany. In this respect List was a typical nationalist of his age, attempting to merge nationalism and liberalism into an inseparable whole. Biographical Notes List was born in 1789 in Reutlingen in south-west Germany (for biographical details, see Henderson 1983; Wendler 2013). In the course of the territorial re-organizations of the Napoleonic era he aimed for a career in the public administration. During his early reform attempts within the bureaucratic apparatus of the Kingdom of Württemberg, the Faculty of State Sciences (Staatswissenschaftliche Fakultät) was founded at the University of Tübingen, and List, possessing neither a high school diploma nor a university degree, was appointed Professor of Administration Practice. After the Restoration, he had to leave the university owing to his liberal convictions. In the following years he was entirely committed to the introduction of a German customs union (Zollunion), which was eventually realized in 1834, partly based on his efforts. After authoring a petition against the illiberal practices of the Kingdom of Württemberg he was forced into exile, eventually settling in the United States, where he spent the years 1825–30 as a highly successful entrepreneur in the emerging railroad industry. It was during this...

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