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Sombart, Werner

Werner Sombart (1863–1941) was a German economist and founding figure of sociology. While he was very well known during his lifetime, he was largely forgotten after his death. Outside Germany, Sombart is perhaps best known for his essay Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? first published in 1906 (Sombart 1976). To this day, political scientists, historians, and labor specialists refer to the “Sombart question” when addressing the exceptional character of the American labor movement.

Sombart came from a liberal bourgeois family. He obtained his doctoral degree under Gustav Schmoller in Berlin in 1888 with a dissertation on the Roman Campagna. At the recommendation of Schmoller, but against the opposition of the faculty, two years later he was appointed associate professor at Breslau. It ...

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