© 2009

The Beginnings of Political Economy

Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi

  • Jürgen Georg Backhaus


  • Biography of Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi

  • Focuses on both his personal life and economic philosophy, and how one gave rise to the other

  • Underlines the development of economics as a separate science

  • Ten authors document Justi's thoughts on a range of issues including moral and health economics, taxation, and the good society


Part of the The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences book series (EHES, volume 7)

About this book


This volume contains eleven essays on Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi's concepts of the modern economy. These essays reflect both Justi's life and professional work, focusing on his ideas on economics and social sciences. Interesting are the aspects of his biography that gave rise to the development of his economic thought. Apart from Justi's personal background, this book contains the beginning of modern economics because Justi's philosophy was linked to government, labour, morality, health and finally the good society.

Justi, throughout his life, had a dual career of being on the one hand a prolific writer and educator, on the other hand an administrator in the core state business of mining, then an important revenue source, and he typically combined the two. He gave two inaugural lectures in 1750 in front of Queen and Empress Maria Theresia. The lecture on cameral sciences is truly the beginning of modern economics: Justi was of the opinion that the happiness of the state would be increased if the number of happy and healthy persons would increase. For this reason, health was a major focus of his attention long before the advent of health economics.

The main benefit the reader will derive from the book is an understanding of how economics developed as a separate science. Furthermore, they will see how Justi laid the foundation for policy sciences, the specialty of many schools of governement today.


18th Century Biography Commercial stability Economics Good Society Health Economics Moral Economics Nation Policy Policy Sciences Taxation political economy

Editors and affiliations

  • Jürgen Georg Backhaus
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Erfurt Krupp Chair in Public Finance and Fiscal SociologyErfurtGermany

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