Johann Heinrich von Thunen Model

Johann Heinrich von Thünen and The Isolated State, Von Thunen Model

Johann Heinrich von Thünen (1783-1850) was undoubtedly one of Germany's most brilliant theorists. Indeed, he may be compared to Ricardo in England, though his work was more technical and did not cover so important a part of the field of pure economic theory as money.

The first volume of his one work was published in 1826 at Hamburg, and had as its full title: Der Isolirte Staat in Beziehung auf Landwirthschaft und Nationalokonomie, oder Untersuchungen über den Einfluss, den die Getreidepreise, der Reichtum des Bodens und die Abgaben auf den Ackerbau ausuben (The Isolated State in Relation to Agricultural and Political Economy, or Investiga­tions concerning the Influence Which Grain Prices, the Richness of the Soil, and Taxes, Exert upon Tillage). The first part (Abtheilung) of the second volume {Theil) appeared in 1850; and not until 1863, long after von Thunen's death, was the work completed by the addition of a second part and the third volume. The whole work was printed as a third edition in 1875. It has been translated into French, and was finally honored by a place in a collection of the chief German economists.

In his general economic views, von Thünen may be classed as a follower of Adam Smith, of whose work he was a student. In his youth, he acquired a knowledge of practical agriculture, and afterwards studied what might be called agricultural eco­nomics under Thaer. Later his now celebrated estate (Gut) of Tellow was purchased, and here he made careful investigations of the same subject. Thus apparently if ever a man was thor­oughly equipped for a practical work on the economics of agri­culture, it was von Thiinen.