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The New International Encyclopædia/Boehm von Bawerk, Eugen

BOEHM VON BAWERK, bẽm fṓn bä'vĕrk, Eugen (1851—). An Austrian political economist. He was born in Brünn, Moravia, February 12, 1851, was educated at the University of Vienna, and from 1872 to 1879 continued his study of political economy in Heidelberg, Leipzig, and Jena, under Knies, Roscher, and Hildebrand. He held for a short time a place in the Austrian Ministry of Finance, lectured in 1880 at the University of Vienna, but was called thence to the University of Innsbruck, where he remained till 1889. He then entered once more the Government service, in the department of finance, and was Minister of Finance from June 18 to October 2, 1895. He was then appointed professor in the University of Vienna and became president of one of the superior courts of administration. In 1897-98 he was again Minister of Finance; in 1899 he was called to the House of Peers, and since January, 1900, he has again been in charge of the Ministry of Finance. Boehm von Bawerk is one of the leading economists of the so-called Austrian school. With Karl Menger and others, he has contributed to the development of a theory of value which has received wide acceptance, and has been the cause of still wider discussion, in the economic world. This theory, as elaborated by Boehm von Bawerk, is based largely upon psychological principles. Its chief feature consists in a searching analysis of ‘subjective value.’ In his Kapital und Kapitalzins (1884-89), translated by Smart in 1890 under the title of Capital and Interest, the author makes a brilliant and original study of these two subjects. He does not accept the connuon classification of land, labor, and capital as the three sources of production, but regards the two former only as real sources, while capital is only a means of production. ‘Interest’ is employed as a general term for interest in the common sense, and for profits, and its cause and justification are found in the great principle of the difference in value between present ‘goods’ and future ‘goods.’ The term ‘positive theory of capital’ has been applied to the teachings of which Boehm von Bawerk on the Continent is the chief exponent, and which were discussed at great length in contributions to the Quarterly Journal of Economics from 1890 to 1895. Valuable articles on the subject are those by Bonar in the same publication on the “Austrian Economists” and on the “Positive Theory of Capital,” Vol. III. (1889). Boehm von Bawerk also wrote Einige strittige Fragen der Kapitalstheorie (Vienna, 1900).