Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus
Chapter 42: Theodor Herzl (1860–1904)
Peter R. Senn Theodor Herzl was a unique ﬁgure in the institutional history of law and economics. He was a pioneer in the application of law and economics. Although neither an economist nor a specialist in law, he combined both ﬁelds as he thought about something unique in the history of economics. He envisaged a new state that was to have distinctive legal and economic systems. Both were to be based on Jewish views about them. The state he proposed was built around the idea that Jews would have a place where they could conduct their lives in accordance with their principles. His writings and leadership led to the only example of the establishment of a country from such a foundation, Israel. His programme was laid out in a booklet, Der Judenstaat (henceforth, The Jewish State) published in 1896. A gifted writer, he kept a diary, of which there are many editions. He published much about his vision, including Old– New Land (Altneuland), a novel designed to inspire faith in the Zionist ideal. The Jewish State was the main publication in which he laid out his ideas about law and economics. Herzl’s background Herzl’s contribution and his place in the history of law and economics can only be understood in the light of his background and the intellectual context of his time. His work embodies much of the best of the German and Austrian approach to law and economics. Some facts about Herzl’s life help to understand what he did.1...
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