Born Mar. 6, 1812, in Naumburg; died Jan. 29, 1878, in Jena. German economist and statistician, one of the founders of the “Historical School” of political economy.
Hildebrand studied in Leipzig and was a professor at the universities of Marburg, Zurich, Bern, and Jena. He introduced the so-called historical method of investigating economic phenomena, which instead of scientific analysis of economic laws of social development relied on the method of empirical collection of statistical and historical information. The scheme of human development that Hildebrand proposed was derived from the exchange concept; it consisted of the division of the economic development of society into three stages: natural, monetary, and credit economies. He ignored the nature of ownership of the means of production, although this ownership, not exchange, determines the social nature of economic formations and the class structure of the society. He opposed Marxism, denying the very fact of capitalist exploitation. Defending bourgeois and feudal private property, he justified social inequality, maintaining that socialism brings equality at the expense of freedom.
WORKSNationalökonomie der Gegenwart und Zukunft, vol. 1. Frankfurt am Main, 1848. In Russian translation, Politicheskaia ekonomiia nastoiashchego i budushchego. Moscow, 1960.
“Naturalwirtschaft, Geldwirtschaft und Kreditwirtschaft.” In Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, vol. 2. Jena, 1864. Pages 1-24.