German historical school of economics

German historical school of economics

Branch of economic thought, developed chiefly in Germany in the later 19th century, in which the economic situation of a nation is understood as the result of its total historical experience. Objecting to the deductively reasoned “laws” of classical economics, exponents of the historical approach examined the development of the entire social order, of which economic motives and decisions were only one component. They viewed government intervention in the economy as a positive and necessary force. Early founders, including Wilhelm Roscher and Bruno Hildebrand, developed the idea of the historical method and sought to identify general stages of economic development through which all countries must pass. Members of the later school, notably Gustav von Schmoller (1813–1917), carried out more detailed historical research and attempted to discover cultural trends through historical inquiry.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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