Types of Economic Theory (book)

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Types of Economic Theory by Othmar Spann

Types of Economic Theory by Othmar Spann is a book over 300 pages in length explaining various economic theories across history and also further explaining their relationship to and critiqing them from the perspective of the "Universalist" worldview (Spann's worldview), which is anti-individualist and nationalist and upholds corporatist economics. This worldview, contrasted to liberal and modern socialist views, is strongly influenced by German Romantic philosophy, especially as expressed by Adam Müller.


Spann intended the work to serve as both history of economic thought and a critique of the main theories and systems of political economy, analysing the basic problems of economics in the light of the evolution of economic theory. His study encapsulates everything from pre-mercantile economics through to the political economy of the early twentieth century, encompassing such diverse subjects as the physiocratic system, the development of German political economy and the evolution of socialism.


1. Economics in the Days Before the Mercantile System
2. The Mercantile System
3. Individualist Natural Right
4. An Introduction to the Basic Problem of Sociology-Individualism Versus Universalism
5. Transition to the Physiocratic System
6. The Physiocrats
7. Fully Developed Individualism, or Classical Political Economy
8. Political Economy in Germany
9. Carey’s Optimism and Its Counterparts on the Continent of Europe
10. A Short Account of the Evolution of Socialism
11. The Historical School, Social Reform, the Theory of Marginal Utility
12. Present-Day Economic Science

Publication Data

Othmar Spann's Types of Economic Theory is an English translation of Die Haupttheorien der Volkswirtschaftslehre auf lehrgeschichtlicher Grundlage. Types of Economic Theory was originally published in English in 1930 by Allen & Unwin (London). It's more recent publication is by Routledge in 2012 (London). ISBN-10: 0415678978 and ISBN-13: 978-0415678971.

This same book also appeared in English under an alternative title: History of Economics (New York: Norton, 1930). Despite the differeing title, the content is nearly identical.

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