1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schulze-Delitzsch, Franz Hermann

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SCHULZE-DELITZSCH, FRANZ HERMANN (1808-1883), German economist, was born at Delitzsch, in Prussian Saxony, on the 29th of August 1808. The place-name Delitzsch was added in 1848 to distinguish him from other Schulzes in the National Assembly. He studied law at Leipzig and Halle universities and, when thirty, he became an assessor in the court of justice at Berlin, and three years later was appointed patrimonialrichter at Delitzsch. Entering the parliament of 1848, he joined the Left Centre, and, acting as president of the commission of inquiry into the condition of the labourers and artisans, became impressed with the necessity of co-operation to enable the smaller tradespeople to hold their own against the capitalists. He was a member of the Second Chamber in 1848-1849; but as matters ceased to run smoothly between himself and the high legal officials, he threw up his public appointments in October 1851, and withdrew to Delitzsch. Here he devoted himself to the organization and development of co-operation in Germany, and to the foundation of Vorschussvereine (people's banks), of which he had established the first at Delitzsch in 1850. These developed so rapidly that Schulze-Delitzsch in 1858, in Die arbeitenden Klassen und das Assoziationswesen in Deutschland, enumerated twenty-five as already in existence. In 1859 he promoted the first Genossenschaftstag, or co-operative meeting, in Weimar, and founded a central bureau of co-operative societies. In 1861 he again entered the Prussian Chamber, and became a prominent member of the Progressist party. In 1863 he devoted the chief portion of a testimonial, amounting to £7500, to the maintenance of his co-operative institutions and offices. This, however, was only to meet an exceptional outlay, for he always insisted that they must be self-supporting. The next three or four years were given to the formation of local centres, and the establishment of the Deutsche Genossenschafts-Bank, 1865.

The spread of these organizations naturally led to legislation on the subject, and this too was chiefly the work of Schulze-Delitzsch. As a member of the Chamber in 1867 he was mainly instrumental in passing the Prussian law of association, which was extended to the North German Confederation in 1868, and later to the empire. Schulze-Delitzsch also contributed to uniformity of legislation throughout the states of Germany, in 1869, by the publication of Die Gesetzgebung über die privatrechtliche Stellung der Erwerbs- und Wirthschaftsgenossenschaften, &c. His life-work was now complete; he had placed the advantages of capital and co-operation within the reach of struggling tradesmen throughout Germany. His remaining years were spent in consolidating this work. Both as a writer and a member of the Reichstag his industry was incessant, and he died in harness on the 29th of April 1883 at Potsdam, leaving the reputation of a benefactor to the smaller tradesmen and artisans, in which light he must be regarded rather than as the founder of true co-operative principles in Germany. (See also Co-operation.)