The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Johannsen, Nicolas August Ludwig Jacob (1844–1928)

  • Henry W. Spiegel
Reference work entry


Nicolas Johannsen was a brilliant outsider with insights into theoretical economics that were ahead of his time. He was born in Berlin but spent much of his life in New York, where he was active in the import–export business. He is best known for having anticipated Keynes’s saving-investment relationship and the multiplier in A Neglected Point in Connection with Crises (1908). In other writings, some of which are quite elusive, having been published under pen names or in German, Johannsen developed a view of the economy in terms of circular flows of money and economic activities portrayed in the form of a wheel-of-wealth diagram (1903). This was not the first attempt of this kind, but was perhaps the first to provide a complete statistical underpinning. Like Silvio Gesell, but independently of him, Johannsen also proposed a tax on paper money, visualized as coming close to a single tax (1913).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry W. Spiegel
    • 1
  1. 1.