Storch, Heinrich Friedrich von (1766–1835)
Storch was born in Riga, Russia, of German parents, and in later life wrote fluently in both German and French. After studying at the universities of Jena and Heidelberg, he entered the Russian government service in 1789 and launched a massive historical-statistical description of the Russian Empire, which earned him a membership in the Russian academy of sciences. Hired to tutor the sons of Tsar Alexander I in political economy, he published his Cours d’economie politique (1815) in six volumes, followed in 1824 by Considerations sur la nature du revenu national. Neither work is particularly distinguished, but the Cours does contain a vigorous critique of Smith’s distinction between productive and unproductive labour and a theory of stages of economic development similar to that of List’s later National System of Political Economy (1841). It is difficult to improve on Schumpeter’s (1954, p. 502) judgement of Storch’s work as a series of glosses on The Wealth of Nations: ‘his bases and conceptual apparatus are substantially Smithian but Storch disagreed with both Smith and Say on a number of important points. Particularly as regards income analysis, Storch has some claim to being listed, along with Lauderdale, Malthus, and Sismondi, as a forerunner of Keynesianism and of similar tendencies that asserted themselves, on and off, later on’. But to link Storch’s name with those of Lauderdale, Malthus and Sismondi is perhaps misleading. Storch was a ‘forerunner of Keynesianism’ not in the sense of giving credence to one or another version of underconsumptionism, for which he in fact had little sympathy, but rather because of the attention he gave to the concept of national income: although he doubted that it could be calculated with any accuracy, he discussed the problem of making such calculations at considerable length (Studenski 1961, pp. 20, 87, 138).