Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello


  • Andre WakefieldEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_108


Cameralism was an aspiring profession during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; it thrived in the small territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Academic cameralists, using law and medicine as their models, constructed a system of auxiliary sciences – largely natural, economic, and technological sciences – to support the training of future state servants in the German lands. This system of professional knowledge, known as the cameral sciences, was taught at German universities during the eighteenth century. As a professional model, cameralism ultimately lost out to jurisprudence, but the discourse that it spawned extended well beyond the German lands into Austria-Hungary, Scandinavia, and the Italian states.


Historians of economic thought often treat their discipline like physics or chemistry, which is to say, they regard it as a positive science. In this, they follow Milton Friedman. “Economics as a positive science,” he famously argued, “is a body of...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pitzer College, Claremont CollegesClaremontUSA