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Friedrich Freiherr von Wieser (German: [ˈviːzɐ]; July 10, 1851 – July 22, 1926) was an early (so-called "first generation") economist of the Austrian School of economics before that school became libertarian. Born in Vienna, the son of Privy Councillor Leopold von Wieser, a high official in the war ministry, he first trained in sociology and law. In 1872, the year he took his degree, he encountered Austrian-school founder Carl Menger's Grundsätzeand switched his interest to economic theory.

Wieser held posts at the universities of Vienna and Prague until succeeding Menger in Vienna in 1903, where, with brother-in-law Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, he shaped the next generation of Austrian economists including Ludwig von MisesFriedrich Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter in the late 1890s and early 20th century. He became Austrian finance minister in 1917.

Wieser on povertyEdit

Wieser understood inequality in wealth can be harmful, he wrote:

Instead of the things that would be more useful, there are things that pay better. The greater the difference in wealth, the more striking are the anomalies of production. The economy provides luxury to the capricious and greedy, while it is deaf to the needs of the miserable and poor. It is therefore the distribution of wealth that decides what will be produced, and leads to a consumer of a more anti-economic variety: a consumer wastes on unnecessary, guilty enjoyment that which could have served to heal the wounds of poverty. (Friedrich von Wieser, Der Wert Natürliche (The Natural Value), 1914.) [1]


  1. Opportunity cost: a Fabian idea?

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