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Erich Schneider: The admiring disciple who did not become a follower

Georg Blind and Andreas Pyka ()

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2015, vol. 25, issue 1, 239-252

Abstract: Erich Schneider, by 17 years a junior of Schumpeter’s, entered academics via a detour of teaching in a secondary school after obtaining his PhD in mathematics. Both his early teaching experience, and his background in mathematics exerted formative influences on his later work. No lesser figure than Schumpeter himself, whom he met while obtaining his academic teaching qualification at the University of Bonn, reportedly prophesized Schneider to become “the new preceptor of Germany” .This provides noteworthy evidence of both Schumpeter’s deep knowledge of human nature, and of the ironic side of his Viennese wittiness: while praeceptor Germaniae was an honorary title awarded by historians but to a few distinguished scholars of the middle ages, the term praeceptor had come to denote the rather modest position of adjunct teacher in grammar schools by the 19 th century. Indeed, Erich Schneider was to dominate economics teaching during the first post-war decades in Germany through his four volume introductory textbook (1947-62), but he left little lasting imprint on economic theory. In essence, he worked on all ‘big issues’ of the 1930ies such as market forms or the theory of production, eventually ventured into management science, and became an ardent advocate of Keynesianism. However, he did not follow the trails of economic change and innovation as one might have expected given the academic guidance obtained from Schumpeter. The absence of mathematical language for the analysis of dynamic phenomena during his days must have kept the trained mathematician from delving into Schumpeterian matters. Thus, through all of his academic life, Erich Schneider stayed a loyal disciple of Schumpeter’s, but cannot be considered a follower. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1007/s00191-014-0357-5

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