Karl Bücher

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bücher, Karl


Born Feb. 16, 1847, in Kirberg; died Nov. 12, 1930, in Leipzig. German economist, historian of the national economy, and statistician; representative of the Younger Historical School of political economy. Professor of political economy at the University of Leipzig (1892-1917) and head of the university’s Institute of Journalism, which he founded in 1917. In his chief work, The Origin of National Economy (1892; Russian translation, 1923), Bücher proposed a three-stage outline of economic development: domestic economy, town economy, and national economy. This outline, which is based upon the “length of the path” traversed by a product from producer to consumer, represents an application of bourgeois exchange theory to economic history. In his studies of the economics of precapitalist societies, Bücher (in contrast to a number of other bourgeois modernizers of economic history) correctly emphasized the basically nonmarket nature of these societies, but at the same time he minimized the role of exchange and trade in antiquity and the Middle Ages. His works on the history of medieval towns contain valuable material on the size of the urban population, the organization of crafts, and so on. V. I. Lenin criticized Bücher’s classification of capitalist forms of production, citing his confusion of manufactory with factory production, and his wrong classification of buying up as a special form of production (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 3, page 551, footnote).


Vosstanie rabov. Leningrad, 1924. (Translated from German.)
Die Bevölkerung von Frankfurt am Main im XIV und XV Jahrhundert, vol. 1. Tübingen, 1886.
Die Wirtschaft der Naturvölker. Dresden, 1897.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.