Werner Sombart

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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.


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


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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