Sombart, Werner

Sombart, Werner

(vĕr`nər zôm`bärt), 1863–1941, German economist. In 1917 he became professor of economics at the Univ. of Berlin. Influenced by Marx's historical approach to economics, he produced several analyses of capitalism, including Der moderne Kapitalismus (Vol. I and II, 1902; Vol. III, 1928) and Der Bourgeois (1913, tr. The Quintessence of Capitalism, 1915). He later turned toward German romanticism, becoming eventually, in Deutscher Sozialismus (1934; tr. A New Social Philosophy, 1937), an exponent of the authoritarian state, accepting Nazism.

Bibliography

See study by M. J. Plotnik (1937).

Sombart, Werner

 

Born Jan. 19, 1863, in Ermsleben, Harz; died May 18, 1941, in Berlin. German economist, sociologist, and historian. Philosopher of culture. Student of G. von Schmoller. Professor at the universities of Breslau (1890) and Berlin (1906).

Sombart’s early works demonstrated the influence of Marxism, but he later opposed historical materialism and the economic teachings of K. Marx. His works are primarily devoted to the economic history of Western Europe, specifically the rise of capitalism (he collected enormous amounts of factual material) and problems of socialism and social movements. Attempting to unite the study of economics and theoretical explanations of social life, Sombart developed a concept of “an economic system” as a certain integral phenomenon giving rise to specific economic institutions and representing an expression of the “spirit” of a society (Sombart identifies the concepts of spirit and society).

Sombart attempted to establish his own theory of primary accumulation, introducing the accumulation of feudal land rent as a primary source of the accumulation of capital. Beginning in the 1920’s, Sombart’s ideas were used by reactionary political circles in Germany.

WORKS

Noo-Soziologie. Berlin, 1956.
Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des modernen Kapitalismus, vols. 1–2. Munich-Leipzig, 1913.
Die Zukunft des Kapitalismus. Berlin, 1932.
Deutscher Sozialismus. Berlin, 1934.
In Russian translation:
Sotsializm i sotsial’noe dvizhenie v 19 stoletii. St. Petersburg, 1902.
Khudozhestvennaia promyshlennosr’ i kul’ tura. St. Petersburg [no date].
Idealy sotsial’noi politiki. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Burzhua. Moscow, 1924.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo v Germanii v 19 iv nach. 20 v. Moscow, 1924.

REFERENCE

Lunacharskii, A. V. “Zombart o dushe burzhua.” In his book Meshchanstvo i individualism. Moscow-Petrograd, 1923. Pages 202–23.

TS. G. ARZAKAN’IAN and B. T. GRIGOR’IAN

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