Karl Marx, the philosopher, economist, political theorist and socialist revolutionary, is best-known for the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. His theories, called Marxism, maintained that class conflict leads to the development of human societies and that internal tension were inherent in capitalism, which would ultimately be replaced by the socialist mode of production.
German banker Hjalmar Schacht was appreciated for his role in saving the Weimar Republic from inflation and later served as the Reichsminister of Economics under Adolf Hitler. Following as assassination attempt on Hitler, her was imprisoned, but was later freed and then set up his own bank in Düsseldorf.
Ludwig Erhard was a German politician best remembered for his efforts to recover the economy in West Germany after the Second World War while serving as the Minister of Economic Affairs. From 1963 to 1966, he served as West Germany's chancellor. Although he was an influential politician, Erhard lacked support from former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, leading to Ludwig Erhard's resignation.
World-class economist Klaus Schwab, who established the World Economic Forum and is also its executive chairman, also has a mechanical engineering degree, along with a doctorate in engineering. He has been a University of Geneva professor and has been awarded a host of honorary doctorates and a French knighthood.
While at the university, former Volkswagen Group chairman Martin Winterkorn excelled both in his major, metallurgy, and in football. Once featured on the Forbes list of Powerful People, he was later convicted of emissions cheating and fraud and now lives in the US as a fugitive.
Born to Prussian parents, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler grew up to be part of the German army during World War I. He later served as the mayor of Leipzig and strongly condemned the Holocaust. He was eventually hanged by the Gestapo for being part of the 20th July coup against Adolf Hitler.
Though a staunch socialist and Marxist, Eduard Bernstein was also one of the biggest critics of Marxist theory and thus gained the nickname The Father of Revisionism. He spotted many loopholes in Karl Marx’s tenets, such as the eventual collapse of the capitalist economy. He also represented Brandenburg in the Reichstag.
Apart from being an economist and a politician, Sahra Wagenknecht has also proved herself as a fine journalist and author, with books such as Capitalism in a Coma. She has previously represented, Die Linke, or the Left Party, as its leader in the German Bundestag, and has been the leader of the opposition.
German-born British economist E. F. Schumacher was one of the significant figures behind the formation of Britain’s post-World War II welfare state plans. His ground-breaking book Small Is Beautiful explained how capitalism was detrimental to culture. He also developed the concept of intermediate technology.
Enamoured by the ideas of French and German philosophers, Ferdinand Lassalle initially aspired to be a lecturer. He later joined the socialist cause and spearheaded Germany’s social democratic movement. He also introduced terms such as the iron law of wages and concepts such as Lassallism, or achieving socialist ideals through the state.
11 Walther Funk
German-American economist Friedrich List is remembered as one of the pioneers of the historical school of economics. He supported tariffs on imported goods to help the domestic market. He is also known for his pamphlet Outlines of American Political Economy and his book The National System of Political Economy.
Johann Heinrich von Thünen was a German economist best remembered for his two-volume treatise The Isolated State. An influential and important 19th-century economist, Thünen is also credited with popularizing Location theory, which has become an important part of regional science, economic geography, and spatial economics.
14 Alfred Weber
Alfred Weber was a German geographer, sociologist, economist, and theoretician of culture. Weber's work and contribution played a key role in the progression of modern economic geography. The younger brother of Max Weber, Alfred Weber contributed theories for analyzing social processes, social change as a confluence of civilization, and culture.
Ferdinand Tönnies was a German economist, sociologist, and philosopher. He is credited with co-founding the German Society for Sociology where he served as the president from 1909 to 1933. Widely regarded as the first prominent German sociologist, Tönnies contributed significantly to field studies and sociological theory. Ferdinand Tönnies is often counted among the founders of classical German sociology.
Andre Gunder Frank was a German-American economic historian and sociologist who advocated dependency theory and world-systems theory. In the 1950s and 1960s, Frank taught subjects, such as economics and anthropology at several American universities. He then went on to serve as a professor at the University of Chile. From 1981 to 1994, he taught at the University of Amsterdam.
Werner Sombart was a German sociologist and economist. He was one of the 20th century's most important Continental European social scientists who served as the leader of the Youngest Historical School. Werner Sombart is credited with coining the phrase late capitalism. He is also remembered for his magnum opus, Der moderne Kapitalismus.
Economist Wilhelm Röpke is remembered as one of the major figures of social market economy. A professor, too, he was against collectivism in economic and socio-political theory. His days in the Germany army in his younger days disgusted him. He supported the Austrian School and later pioneered ordoliberalism, or sociological neoliberalism.
Gottfried Feder was a German economist and civil engineer. One of the most important members of the Nazi Party, Feder served as the party's economic theoretician during its formative years. In 1919, Gottfried Feder delivered one of his most famous lectures that lured Adolf Hitler into the Nazi Party.
Axel A. Weber is a German economist, banker, and professor. From 2004 to 2011, Weber served as the president of the German Bundesbank. He is currently serving as the chairman of the popular Swiss multinational investment bank, UBS Group AG. In 2015, Axel A. Weber was adjudged European Banker of the Year 2014 by the International Association of Economic Journalists.
Thilo Sarrazin is a German politician and writer who served as Berlin Senator of Finance from 2002 to 2009. A former member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Thilo Sarrazin is best known for his controversial book Germany is Doing Away with Itself in which he has criticized Germany's post-war immigration policy. The book sparked a nationwide controversy.
Ernest Mandel was a Belgian Trotskyist activist and theorist, Marxian economist, and Holocaust survivor. During the German occupation of Belgium, Mandel fought against the Nazis in the underground resistance. He served as an editor of Het Vrije Woord, an underground newspaper during the Second World War. During his life, Mandel published some 30 books and 2,000 articles in various languages.
Born in Germany, Oskar Morgenstern was believed to be a descendant of Emperor Frederick III. He began his academic career as a professor at the University of Vienna and later joined Princeton. A game theory and mathematical economics specialist, he co-wrote Theory of Games and Economic Behavior with John von Neumann.
Theodore Levitt was a German American educator and economist. He served as a professor at the prestigious Harvard Business School where he edited the Harvard Business Review; Levitt is often credited with popularizing the publication. Over the course of his career, Theodore Levitt won several awards and honors, such as the John Hancock Award and Charles Coolidge Parlin Award.
Samuel von Pufendorf was a German jurist, economist, political philosopher, and historian. Among Pufendorf's major achievements are his revisions and commentaries of the natural law theories of Hugo Grotius and Thomas Hobbes. In Germany, Samuel von Pufendorf is best remembered as a precursor of an intellectual and philosophical movement called the Age of Enlightenment.
Silvio Gesell was a German-Argentine theoretical economist, merchant, Georgist, social activist, libertarian socialist, anarchist, and founder of Freiwirtschaft. He is also credited with founding a magazine named Monetary and Land Reform which was closed soon after its establishment for financial reasons. Silvio Gesell is also credited with co-creating the magazine Der Physiokrat.
27 Bernd Lucke
Bernd Lucke is a German politician and economist who served as the leader of a political party named Alternative for Germany from 2013 to 2015; the party was co-founded by Lucke along with Eberhardt Alexander Gauland. Lucke, who is also credited with co-founding Electoral Alternative 2013, serves as a professor at the University of Hamburg.
28 Herman Gref
Rudi Dornbusch was a German economist who lived and worked in the USA. Dornbusch is best remembered for his association with popular institutions, such as The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The University of Chicago (UChicago), and The University of Rochester. Over the course of his career, Rudi Dornbusch received many prestigious honors, such as the Concord Prize.
Austrian-born Marxist politician, socialist-theorist, and economist Rudolf Hilferding was the main theoretician for the German social democratic political party called Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) during the Weimar Republic. A prominent representative of the Viennese development of Marxism, Hilferding assumed office as Minister of Finance in two SPD led governments and is noted for his work Das Finanzkapital.
Hans-Werner Sinn is a German economist best known for his association with the Ifo Institute for Economic Research where he served as the president from 1999 to 2016. Apart from serving on the advisory council of the German economy ministry, Hans-Werner Sinn is also currently serving as Professor Emeritus of Public Finance and Economics at the University of Munich.
A strong supporter of positivism and a critic of Marxism, German philosopher Eugen Dühring was also a qualified lawyer. An eye ailment which took away his sight in the end made him quit law and focus on philosophy instead. A fine writer, too, he penned books such as Capital und Arbeit.
33 Ernst Engel
German statistician Ernst Engel conducted an interesting study on over 150 Belgian families to come to the conclusion that the lower a family’s income, the greater is their expense on food. His revelation came to be known as the Engel curve, or the Engel’s law. He was also part of various statistical departments.
A qualified lawyer, Ludwig Bamberger became inspired by radicalism during the Revolutions of 1848 but turned into a moderate liberal during Otto von Bismarck’s reign. He represented the National Liberal Party in the Reichstag. He not only standardized German coinage but also established the Reichsbank and adopted the gold currency.
German-born Sir Hans Wolfgang Singer initially aspired to become a doctor before gaining an interest in economics and eventually gaining a Cambridge PhD. Known for his extensive research on developmental economics, he was one of the first economists to work for the United Nations. He was knighted for his achievements.
German economist Lujo Brentano, best known for his association with the historical school of economics, conducted a study on English trade unions, comparing them with the guild system of the medieval times. A prominent pacifist, he was against the marked militarism in Germany. He also co-founded the German Economic Association.
Carl Grünberg was a German Marxist philosopher of law and history. He studied law in Strasbourg and practiced as an advocate. He then proceeded to study political economy in Vienna and eventually became an academic reader. He was one of the founders of Austromarxism. He became the director of the Institute for Social Research in 1924.
42 Peter Struve
Russian political-economist, historian and editor Peter Struve, initially a Marxist, became a liberal following his arrest and exile from Russia in 1901. After returning to Russia in 1905, he co-founded the liberal Constitutional Democratic Party. He joined the White movement after the Bolshevik Revolution. He lived in exile in Paris from 1920 and emerged as a noted critic of Russian Communism.