Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

No 108: Wicksell versus Brisman: A Dispute on Capital between Generations

Bo Sandelin
Additional contact information
Bo Sandelin: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University, Postal: Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG

Abstract: After Wicksell in 1911 had published the second Swedish edition of his Lectures on Political Economy, a debate began in the Ekonomisk Tidskrift between Wicksell and his opponent Sven Brisman. The controversy was mainly about the concept of capital and the rate of interest, but the circumstances around the debate are at least as interesting as the theoretical issues. Wicksell was since long an internationally famous professor, his opponent a young and impetuous docent. Wicksell was a theorist, Brisman was an empiricist. Those facts determined the character of the debate, in which an echo of the conflict between Wicksell and Cassel is also present. On the theoretical level Wicksell now got another opportunity to clarify his concept of capital as saved-up labour and land, while his view on the casual relationship in the theory of interest is not so clear, taking into account his earlier writings.

Keywords: capital theory; interest; Wicksell; Brisman; Cassel

JEL-codes: B10; B31; D90; E22

15 pages, October 9, 2003

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