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Adam Heydel

Adam Heydel (1893–1941) was a Polish economist and a political writer. He was born into a family of landed gentry. He finished law school at the Jagiellonian University, where he later taught economics from 1927. He had a stint in diplomacy. He was politically associated with the national-democratic camp, but was not directly involved in politics. He was a critic of the policy of the Piłsudski camp of Sanacja, which led to his expulsion from the Jagiellonian University in 1933. He resumed his teaching duties four years later as a full professor. He headed the Institute of Economics at the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he was the editor of the Studia Ekonomiczne [Economic Studies] journal. In 1939, Heydel was arrested by the Germans in the Sonderaktion Krakau operation and transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After his release in early 1940, he joined the underground movement, but was arrested again and imprisoned. In 1941, he was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he was killed in a mass execution.

Heydel was a strong supporter of economic liberalism. He advocated the idea of a free market and eagerly campaigned against state interventionism. His criticism of overregulation was backed by economic and political arguments. He pointed out that the economic activity of the state will not be viable in the long term and that the restrictions on the rights of the individual will result in the decline of parliamentary democracy.

Heydel, who was an advocate of the Austrian school of economics, claimed that economic turmoil is primarily driven by the oversupply of money, leading to overinvestment, with the two factors contributing to a fall in output and a growth in unemployment.

His interests went well beyond economics. He was particularly interested in art, which is reflected in the extensive monograph on the oeuvre of painter Jacek Malczewski.

Adam Heydel’s major works include: Podstawowe zagadnienia metodologiczne ekonomii [Basic Methodological Issues of Economics], Przyczynowość w ekonomii [Causality in Economics], Kapitalizm i socjalizm wobec etyki [Ethics of Capitalism and Socialism] and Myśli o kulturze [Thoughts on Culture].

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