Ludwig Zinzendorf's political economy in the Habsburg monarchy, 1750-1774

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Adler, Simon 

This study examines Ludwig Zinzendorf’s political economy and the intellectual inspiration of his thinking. Zinzendorf, a protégé of Kaunitz, was a sophisticated economic thinker in the mid eighteenth-century Habsburg monarchy who was part of the wider intellectual movement in Europe dedicated to understanding political economy and presenting it as an independent and important activity. Self- educated, polyglot and hard-working, Zinzendorf was formidably well read and impressively numerate. His output was detailed and analytical. With an exceptionally wide knowledge, he offered a more original way to discuss the economy than the essentially didactic approach of cameralist writers. He was a reformer dedicated to propagating the most advanced European ideas and practices. This study is divided into five chapters: chapter one covers the relationship between Zinzendorf and Kaunitz and Zinzendorf’s formative years in France from 1750 to 1752. The influence of French economic thinkers on Zinzendorf’s intellectual development, Jean-François Melon and Vincent de Gournay in particular, is the subject of chapter two. Chapter three is devoted to Zinzendorf’s German translation of John Law’s Money and Trade. The development of Zinzendorf’s ideas on state credit, notably the creation of a new stock exchange and political bank in the monarchy, modelled on the Bank of England, is discussed in chapter four. The final chapter examines how Zinzendorf operated as a sophisticated financial expert in the monarchy. He sought to provide a different kind of economic advice and attempted to open-up government to new concepts on the economy. He was influenced by the important contribution in France made by Gournay and his circle of writers in disseminating foreign ideas by publishing in French a range of economic texts from rival nations. Zinzendorf, it is argued, attempted to apply a moderate format of Gournay’s initiative in the monarchy.

Robertson, John
political economy, Habsburg monarchy, eighteenth century, Gournay, state credit, Enlightenment, banks, stock exchange, Kaunitz, Ludwig Zinzendorf, Karl Zinzendorf, public finances, war finance, translations of economic works, Zinzendorf diaries
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge