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Leon Biegeleisen

Leon Biegeleisen (1885-1944) was a Polish economist and academic teacher and an officer of the Polish Army. He studied in Berlin, Vienna and Lviv. During World War I, he collaborated with the Supreme National Committee (Naczelny Komitet Narodowy). After the war, he delivered lectures on economic policy and economics at the Free Polish University (Wolna Wszechnica Polska). He did not survive the Second World War, nevertheless the date and circumstances of his death are unclear.

Biegeleisen’s interests focused mainly on issues related to cooperatives, administration and municipal economy. He also published works on agricultural issues. His concept of agricultural policy was based on the need to retain a large number of small family farms, which were able to operate more efficiently than large entities. In the case of industrial production, however, he supported an active state policy, advocating the introduction of regulations concerning both prices and the scale of manufacturing. His position did not differ fundamentally from the views of the promoters of the planned economy and was close to socialist concepts.

He drew on the achievements of the historical school, while opposing the concept of homo oeconomicus. He perceived economic phenomena in the context of overall social life. He was a supporter of gradual social reforms. He put forward the assumption that both public and private enterprises could operate equally efficiently. His magnum opus, Wstęp do nauki ekonomii społecznej [Introduction to the Science of Social Economics] integrates the knowledge of the theory of cognition and the methodology of science and is an attempt to develop economic models.

Among Biegeleisen’s major achievements, the following works are worth mentioning: Teoria małej i wielkiej własności [Theory of Small and Large Property], Polityka gospodarcza Italii [Economic Policy of Italy], Polityka gospodarczo-aprowizacyjna miast polskich [Economic and Supply Policy of Polish Cities] and the two-volume Wstęp do nauki ekonomii społecznej [Introduction to the Science of Social Economics].

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