The Entwickelung According to Gossen

  • Jan van Daal
Part of the The European Heritage in Economics and the Social Sciences book series (EHES, volume 11)


This chapter deals with Hermann Heinrich Gossen’s doctrine set out in his book Entwickelung der Gesetze des menschlichen Verkehrs und der daraus fließenden Regeln für menschliches Handeln (1854). Furthermore, I present the few facts known about the course of his life. The book consists of a positive part and a normative part. Its most prominent elements are two assertions now known as Gossen’s first law and second law. These two laws will be discussed extensively, together with the rest of his positive theory. Among this rest, one may notice what might be called “Gossen’s third law”. Then follows a short exposition of the politico-economic propositions he deduced from his theory. In spite of his proposal in favour of State ownership of all the land, these propositions appear to be of a liberal nature. The paper ends with some remarks on evolutionary features of Gossen’s thought.


Marginal Utility Absolute Maximum Total Utility Individual Utility Positive Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Triangle, Université Lyon-2LyonFrance

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