Johann Heinrich von Thünen lived in Germany from 1783 until 1850 and at the age of twenty-seven acquired Tellow, an estate near Rostock in Mecklenburg, which he continued to manage for a further forty years. During the course of his work he amassed a considerable amount of data concerning farm costings and at the same time studied both economics through the works of Adam Smith and scientific farming with Albrecht Thaer. Eventually, in 1826, the results of his experience were incorporated in a publication entitled ‘The Isolated State’ (‘Der isolierte Staat’). Its aim was to discover the laws which govern the prices of agricultural products and the laws by which price variations are translated into patterns of land use. This work was essentially that of a practical farmer, for it was of interest to him to appreciate the financially most rewarding system for conducting his own enterprise. As it is, he in fact produced a method of analysis for rural land use which can be considered at the same time as the first theory of the location of agricultural production.
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