Analysing the values theories of the nineteenth century, there is a remarkable difference between German and English theories: the idea of subjective value is a very German idea, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, ignored by textbooks of the history of economic thought. The German conception of subjective value is subjective, but not individualistic, and is different from the marginalistic conception of value later on. In the German tradition ‐ Hufeland, Lotz, Rau, Hermann, Knies, Wagner, etc. ‐ the value theory deals with “meaning”. The economic actor is able to choose subjectively, but in the context of a collective meaning. We get some new insights into the very German idea of a social economy.
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