The New International Encyclopædia/List, Friedrich

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LIST, lĭst, Friedrich (1789-1846). A German economist. He was born at Reutlingen in Württemberg. He was the son of a well-to-do tanner, but, as he had no taste for his father's trade, he entered the public service as a clerk and rose rapidly until in 1816 he attained the position of ministerial undersecretary. In 1817 he was appointed professor of political economy at Tübingen, but with the fall of the Ministry which he supported he was forced in 1819 to resign his professorship. He was elected member of the Diet of Württemberg, but was expelled in 1822 for his censure of the acts of the Government, and was condemned to ten months' imprisonment. He escaped, however, seeking refuge successively in Baden, Alsace, and Switzerland. In 1825 he came to Pennsylvania, where he tried farming, but soon abandoned it to become editor of a German paper in Reading. In 1827 he published a pamphlet entitled Outlines of a New System of Political Economy, in which he defended the doctrine of protection. The discovery of coal upon his property placed him in easy circumstances and he turned again toward Germany, having received an appointment as United States Consul at Hamburg. But on his arrival in Europe in 1830 he found that the Senate had failed to confirm his appointment, and though about 1833 he was appointed Consul at Leipzig, he was persona non grata to the Saxon Government and held the post for a short time only. At this time he was much interested in the establishment of railroads, and his insistence upon their advantages led to the building of the road between Leipzig and Dresden, and contributed to the further development of the German system. He was tireless in his advocacy of protection and railroads, and in the formation of associations of manufacturers for the cultivation of the influence of this class. In 1837 he went to Paris, where he wrote several letters for the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, which were published in 1841 in a volume under the title of Das nationale System der politischen Oekonomie. In 1843 he established at Augsburg the Zollvereinsblatt, in which he advocated a national commercial svstem and a national fleet. He visited Austria and Hungary in 1844, and England in 1846, for the purpose of forming a commercial alliance between Germany and that country, in which his efforts were not successful. Depressed by the failure of his plans, the loss of his health and property, he shot himself in a fit of insanity. For his biography, consult: Goldschmidt (Berlin, 1878), and Jentsch (ib., 1901); also Friedrich List, ein Vorläufer und ein Opfer für das Vaterland (Stuttgart, no date; anonymous). See also article “Kriedrich List” in Palgrave, Dictionary of Political Economy (London, 1894-99).

The chief contribution of List to economic thought is contained in Das nationale System der politischen Oekonomie. In this work he emphasizes the idea that the economic policy of a nation should be such as to develop all of its resources, thus placing it in a position of independence. To this end he defended a protective system as necessary for a nation which has not developed its industry and commerce, although he regarded free trade as the goal toward which all nations should tend. He advanced few ideas in defense of protection which had not already been advanced by Alexander Hamilton, with whose work he was presumably familiar; he was, moreover, much indebted to A. Müller for his ideas.