Eugen Boehm von Bawerk

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Eugen Böhm von Bawerk around 1897

Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk (* February 12, 1851 in Brno as Eugen Böhm ; † August 27, 1914 in Kramsach , Tyrol ; also Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk for short) was an Austrian economist . He is considered a representative of the Vienna School and the founder of the Austrian capital theory .


1854 Eugen Bohm's father was Johann Karl Böhm by Emperor Franz Joseph to the Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold excellent and levied under the Order statutes in the hereditary Austrian knighthood, which he rated "of Bawerk" chose. The name Eugen Böhms changed to Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk , which Böhm-Bawerk hardly used, but officially signed as Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk or Eugen Böhm-Bawerk.

After graduating from the Schottengymnasium in Vienna , Böhm-Bawerk studied law and political science in Vienna from 1868 to 1872 and joined the Lower Austrian financial service in 1872, where he remained until 1880. Böhm-Bawerk received his doctorate in 1875 and spent the following two years on study holidays in Heidelberg, Leipzig and Jena with Karl Knies , Wilhelm Roscher and Bruno Hildebrand . In 1880 he married the sister of his childhood friend Friedrich von Wieser , Paula von Wieser.

After completing his habilitation in political economy in 1880, he began teaching at the University of Innsbruck in 1881 . There he was appointed professor in 1884, an office which he held until 1889. At that time he wrote and published Kapital und Kapitalzins , a two-volume work on interest theory taking into account eminent financial scholars , which was published from 1884.

From 1889 he worked first as a ministerial advisor and later as section head in the Ministry of Finance on the reform of direct taxation. In 1895 he became Austrian Minister of Finance . In this function, he primarily pursued the goal of a balanced state budget and strict compliance with the gold cover of the Austrian currency. After serving three times as finance minister in various cabinets (1895, 1897–1898, 1900–1904), he resigned from his post in 1904 to take up a professorship at the University of Vienna , where he taught until his death in 1914. In September 1899, he was also appointed a member of the manor house . From 1911 until his death, Böhm-Bawerk was President of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (later the Austrian Academy of Sciences ).

Honorary grave of Eugen Böhm von Bawerk in the Vienna Central Cemetery

Shortly before his death in 1914, Böhm-Bawerk published the essay Power or Economic Law? . In it, Böhm-Bawerk postulated that wages are determined by the "economic law" of supply and demand and not by changing power relations between entrepreneurs and workers. According to Böhm-Bawerk, such economic laws cannot be overridden by state intervention. He stood on the side of Carl Menger in the methodological dispute of political economy and in contradiction to the historical school around Gustav von Schmoller .

In addition to Carl Menger and Friedrich von Wieser , he is considered the founder of the so-called Austrian School of Economics , which was later continued by his student Ludwig von Mises . Other students of Böhm-Bawerk, who, however, sometimes turned to other directions, were Otto Bauer , Otto Neurath and Joseph Schumpeter .

Böhm-Bawerk considered the entrepreneur's profit to be a prerequisite for generating a national product and thus saw himself in contrast to Karl Marx .

With regard to the trade balance, Bawerk took the view that the flow of goods between different areas can only be finally balanced out by other flows of goods, not by money. The export and import data, in turn, “must ultimately be combined to form those sums and differences” from the data in the balance of payments . “The balance of payments commands, the trade balance obeys”. Various savings and investment decisions (capital or foreign exchange balance) thus determine, according to Bawerk, how the trade balance or current account develops.

Eugen Böhm von Bawerk on the 100 Schilling banknote (1985)

A portrait of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk was to be found on the last Austrian 100 Schilling banknote.

He rests in a grave of honor in the Vienna Central Cemetery (group 32 A, number 52).

Fonts (selection)

Karl Marx and the close of his system
  • Capital and interest on capital. Wagner, Innsbruck 1884.
  • Power or Economic Law? In: Journal for Economics, Social Policy and Administration. Volume 23 (1914), pp. 205-271 ( text version digitized ).
  • Collected writings , published posthumously by Franz X. Weiss, Vienna 1924 (digital copies at ).
  • Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk: At the end of the Marxian system . In: Otto v. Boenigk (Hrsg.): Political scientific work - festivities for Karl Knies for the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birthday . O. Haering, Berlin 1896, p. 87–205 [= pp. 51–101 in the PDF file] ( online ).


Web links

Commons : Eugen Böhm von Bawerk  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Official part. In:  Wiener Zeitung , January 19, 1855, p. 1 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz
  2. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk: Collected writings by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Volume 2. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's smaller treatises on capital and interest. Published by Franz X. Weiss, Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, Vienna 1924, p. VI.
  3. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk: The balance of payments commands, the trade balance obeys, not the other way around. In: Our passive trade balance (1914), PDF ( Memento of July 31, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  4. Reading sample .