List, Friedrich (1789–1846)

Friedrich List was a proponent of trade protectionism and railroads and an early empirical critic of the classical school of economics. His strategy for “freedom and national unity” shaped the German customs union, Otto von Bismarck's (1815–1898) unification of Germany, and, indirectly, European unification, which List repeatedly proposed.

List's insights and method qualified him as a noteworthy pioneer of historical jurisprudence, law and economics, and institutional and development economics. List stated, for instance, “Every law, every public regulation has a strengthening or weakening effect on production or on consumption or on the productive forces” (1841: 307). List was educated as a lawyer, and he worked in the legal system until he became a full-time propagandist for improved infrastructure, including legal and administrative reform.

One can understand the ...

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