economics

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

On March 11, 1891, Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi was born. Polanyi made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines humanity’s highest achievements. “When order is achieved among human beings by allowing them to interact with each other on their own initiative — subject only to the laws which uniformly apply to all of them —…
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Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

On February 22, 1903, precocious British philosopher, mathematician and economist Frank Plumpton Ramsey was born. Although he died already at age 26, he had made significant contributions to logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language and decision theory. He remains noted for his Ramsey Theory, a mathematical study of combinatorial objects in which a certain degree of order must occur as the scale of the object becomes large. “The first problem I…
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The Burst of the Tulip Bubble

The Burst of the Tulip Bubble

On February 3, 1637, in Haarlem, Netherlands, the tulip bulb contract prices collapsed abruptly and the trade of tulips ground to a halt. This should put an end to the ‘Tulip Mania‘, one of the first economic bubbles to burst. You see, financial crisis is not an invention of modern times. Already in the 17th century, in the early age of baroque, people went crazy for a good that was short of…
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Charles Dow and his Famous Stock Index

Charles Dow and his Famous Stock Index

On July 3 1884 Charles Henry Dow together with his colleague Edward Jones composed and published an stock average – called the Dow Jones Railroad Average -, which contained nine railroads and two industrial companies. He developed the stock index as part of his market research and it was meant to serve as a reference value to determine fluctuations of the stock market. It first appeared in the Customer’s Afternoon Letter, a daily…
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Liberty vs. Authority according to John Stuart Mill

Liberty vs. Authority according to John Stuart Mill

On May 8, 1873, British philosopher, political economist and civil servant John Stuart Mill passed away. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century“, Mill‘s conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. His views still are significant today…
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Max Weber – one of the Founders of Sociology

Max Weber – one of the Founders of Sociology

On April 21, 1864, German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist Max Weber was born. Max Weber‘s ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founders of sociology. “The capacity to distinguish between empirical knowledge and value-judgments, and the fulfillment of the scientific duty to see the factual truth as well as the practical duty to stand up for…
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Henry Charles Carey and his Influence on U.S. Economy

Henry Charles Carey and his Influence on U.S. Economy

On December 15, 1793, 19th-century economist of the American School of capitalism Henry Charles Carey was born. Carey was chief economic adviser to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Family Background and Life Henry James Carey succeeded his father Mathew Careyin his publishing company, who was an Irish influential economist, political reformer, editor, and publisher, and who had gone into exile for political reasons. In 1821 Carey took over the management of the business and…
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Emil Rathenau and the German Electrical Industry

Emil Rathenau and the German Electrical Industry

On December 11, 1838, German entrepreneur and industrialist, Emil Moritz Rathenau was born. Rathenau was a leading figure in the early European electrical industry. He founded the Allgemeine Elektrizitats Gesellschaft (AEG), the German General Electric Company, with a product range including power stations, railways as well as electrical machines and devices. Rathenau was also the first to produce aluminium in Germany for industrial use. Family and Early Life Emil Moritz Rathenau was born in…
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Reinhard Selten – Game Theory and Experimental Economics

Reinhard Selten – Game Theory and Experimental Economics

On October 5, 1930, German economist and Nobel Laureate Reinhard Selten was born. Selten is well known for his work in bounded rationality and can be considered as one of the founding fathers of experimental economics. For his work in game theory, Selten won the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with John Harsanyi and John Nash). “I was always skeptical about authority, about things which were told by authorities, because I…
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Jacques Necker and the Finances of France

Jacques Necker and the Finances of France

On September 30, 1732, Swiss banker, French statesman and finance minister for Louis XVI Jacques Necker was born. Necker helped make decisions that were critical in creating political and social conditions that contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. In 1780, Necker published the Compte rendu au roi, in which he summarized governmental income and expenditures to provide the first record of royal finances ever made public. “Only fools, pure…
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