Skip navigation

A tale of two destinies: Georgescu-Roegen on Gossen

A tale of two destinies: Georgescu-Roegen on Gossen

Tubaro, Paola (2014) A tale of two destinies: Georgescu-Roegen on Gossen. History of Political Economy, 46 (1). pp. 33-54. ISSN 0018-2702 (Print), 1527-1919 (Online) (doi:

Full text not available from this repository.


Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen edited the English translation of Gossen’s book The Laws of Human Relations (1983), and wrote a lengthy introduction to it. His highly appreciative, thoroughly documented study has become a major reference on an otherwise little known early writer. It suggests that Gossen was unjustly ignored by his contemporaries, just as Georgescu-Roegen felt that his own contributions to economics were insufficiently recognized.
Yet it was not only a personal motive that inspired Georgescu-Roegen’s editorial enterprise: I show that his original plan was to build a model of consumer choice, with support of hints found in Gossen, to address what he saw as essential theoretical issues. Rather, completion of the book project took almost twenty years, during which external circumstances and analytical difficulties gradually eroded the initial theoretical interests, while a sense of self-identification with Gossen gained prominence. As a result, major issues remained ultimately unsolved. History of economics, originally intended to aid economic theory-building, became the key for sublimating personal feelings into a broader reflection on science in society, beyond time and space differences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Hermann Heinrich Gossen, utility theory, consumer choice theory, time allocation, time use, sociology of scientific discovery
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Networks and Urban Systems Centre (NUSC) > Centre for Business Network Analysis (CBNA)
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:21

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item