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Edward Taylor (1884–1964) was one of the eminent Polish economists. He was born into a Scottish family that settled in Poland in the 17th century. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the Jagiellonian University, where he obtained his PhD.
At first, he became strongly involved in the cooperative movement, to which he devoted the prized monograph O istocie spółdzielczości [On the Essence of the Cooperative Movement]. 1919 was a breakthrough year in Taylor’s life. He received a proposal to establish and organise an economics section at the Faculty of Law and Economics at the university in Poznań. He lectured there throughout the interwar period, laying the foundations for the Poznań school of economics. During wartime Taylor lived with his family in the countryside near Jędrzejów, where he struggled to carry on the academic activity despite the difficult circumstances. In 1949, he was forced by the Communist authorities to retire from work. In 1956, he returned to university, where he continued to lecture for four more years. Taylor has educated several generations of Polish lawyers and economists.
He advocated classical economics, and in particular Alfred Marshall’s theory. His academic interests, however, went beyond the theory of economics and included the study of money, issues of Treasury management and the cooperative movement. He promoted economic freedom and private ownership, while opposing excessive statism. At the same time, he called for a conscientious cooperation of all the social strata in the vein of solidarism.
Taylor was a prolific thinker: his academic and journalistic accomplishments comprise some 300 works. He is the author of numerous Polish translations of the classics in economics. Taylor highly appreciated the fruits of the publishing series he himself initiated, “Poznańskie Prace Ekonomiczne” [The Poznań Dissertations in Economics], in which the best doctoral and postdoctoral dissertations were published in the interwar period.
The major books by the Polish economist include Inflacja polska [Polish Inflation], Druga inflacja polska [The Second Polish Inflation], Wstęp do ekonomiki [Introduction to Economics], Teoria produkcji [Theory of Production] and Historia rozwoju ekonomiki [The History of Economics].