economics

Josiah Wedgwood and his Pottery Company

Josiah Wedgwood and his Pottery Company

On July 12, 1730, English potter and founder of the eponymous company Josiah Wedgwood was born. Wedgwood is credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery. Every new invention that Wedgwood produced – green glaze, creamware, black basalt and jasper – was quickly copied. Having once achieved perfection in production, he achieved perfection in sales and distribution. We had already featured the (re-)discovery of the art of making porcelain in Europe…
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Ernst Engel and Engel’s Law of Microeconomics

Ernst Engel and Engel’s Law of Microeconomics

On March 26, 1821, German statistician Ernst Engel was born. Engel was head of the Prussian Statistical Bureau (1860-82) and is best known for the “Engel curve,” or Engel‘s law, which states that the proportion of expenditure on food will fall as income rises, i.e. food is a necessary good. Ernst Engel studied at the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, in Saxony, and on completing his curriculum traveled in Germany and…
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Frederick W. Taylor – the first Management Consultant

Frederick W. Taylor – the first Management Consultant

On March 20, 1856, American mechanical engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor was born. Taylor is known as the father of scientific management, who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He was one of the first management consultants. Taylor summed up his efficiency techniques in his 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management. His pioneering work in applying engineering principles to the work done on the factory floor was instrumental in the creation and development…
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Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

On February 13, 1766, English cleric and scholar Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus was born. His An Essay on the Principle of Population observed that sooner or later population will be checked by famine and disease, leading to what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. He thought that the dangers of population growth precluded progress towards a utopian society. Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. His views became…
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How Johann Beckmann invented the Science of Technology

How Johann Beckmann invented the Science of Technology

On June 4, 1739, German chemist and economist Johann Beckmann was born. He established the science of agriculture and coined the word technology, to mean the science of trades. He was the first man to teach technology and write about it as an academic subject. Johann Beckmann was born at Hoya in Hannover. He attended the University of Göttingen where he studied theology, mathematics, physics, natural history, and public finance and administration.…
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Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Railroad and Steamship Empire

Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Railroad and Steamship Empire

On May 27, 1794, American business magnate and philanthropis Cornelius Vanderbilt was born. Vanderbilt’s wealth was build on railroads and shipping. He was also the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in New York and started working on his father’s ferry in New York Harbor as a boy. It is reported that he already left school at 11 and started his own…
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Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

On January 24, 1902, German-American economist and mathematician Carl Friedrich Alfred Oskar Morgenstern was born. Morgenstern popularized “game theory” which mathematically analyzes behaviour of man or animals in terms of strategies to maximize gains and minimize losses. He coauthored Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944), with John von Neumann, which extended Neumann‘s 1928 theory of games of strategy to competitive business situations. “As far as the use of mathematics in economics…
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John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

On December 28, 1903, Hungarian and American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor and polymath John von Neumann was born. He made major contributions to a number of fields including mathematics, physics, economics, computing, and statistics. He was a key figure in the development of game theory, the concepts of cellular automata, and the digital computer. He is definitely one of the candidates to write several biographical articles of, each with a…
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Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville’s – The Fable of Bees On November 15, 1670, Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist Bernard Mandeville was born. He became famous for The Fable of the Bees, a satire that suggests many key principles of economic thought, including division of labor and the “invisible hand“, seventy years before these concepts were more thoroughly elucidated by Adam Smith. Not very much is known about the life of Bernard Mandeville. He probably grew…
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Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

Antoine Cournot (1801 – 1877) On August 28, 1801, French philosopher and mathematician Antoine-Augustin Cournot was born. He is considered being the first economist who applied mathematics to the treatment of economic questions. In 1838, he published Recherches sur les principes mathématiques de la théorie des richesses (Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth) which was a treatment of mathematical economics. Antoine Cournot was born in Gray, France and…
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