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František Ladislav Rieger

česká verze

1818 - 1903


František Ladislav Rieger F. L. Rieger ranks one of the most prominent Czech figures of the 19th century. Almost for 70 years he was a leading participant, often an organizer of all-important events in Bohemia. His wide-ranging and varied interests and activities also included the economic field.

He was born on 10th December 1918 in Semily. Soon after coming to Prague, he became involved in the life of Czech patriotic circles. He graduated with a law degree from the Prague university. In the revolutionary year of 1848 he, together with Palacký, got into the scene of Czech politics. In particular he excelled as a member of parliament in the Austrian Constitutional Assembly, in which he made several brilliant speeches, excellent in their form and content, that won him a European name. After the assembly was dissolved and because of fear of Bach's oppressions, he went abroad for almost two years. In France and England he occupied himself in particular with the study of economic literature and conditions. When he returned to Bohemia, he married the daughter of F. Palacký (1853), and for many years occupied himself with literary activities. Apart from other things he started to publish the first Czech encyclopaedia. He also wrote several songs, of which The Blacksmith's Song was one of the most popular in Bohemia for many years. After the restoration of the parliament in 1861, Rieger became a leading personality in  Czech political life. For four decades he set the political program of the Old Czechs, which was a leading Czech party until 1891. He brought the issue of the Czechs at the world forum either by his activities in his country, or by his personal contacts with important statesmen and politicians abroad. Therefore it is legitimate to denote Rieger as a modern Czech politician of world importance. He died in Prague and is buried in the Vyšehrad cemetery.

Among national awakeners and politicians of the 19th century, Rieger was the only one who had a broad education. He studied available professional literature of that time in several languages. He came to believe economic science must "form the adaptability of the future society". Therefore he decided economics to be his life mission. In 1851 he submitted an application to the management of the Prague University in order to be able work as a docent of economics at the law faculty – Czech to be the language of lectures. He attached to his application a second-doctorate work, a Czech paper "On Intangible Property and Immaterial Works and Their Importance and Place in Economics", that was previously published the year before. He also had a prepared outline of lectures on political economy. However, his application was refused for political reasons. In spite of that F. L. Rieger still wanted to continue to work in this science. He started his works "On Fundamentals of the State Economy" and the "Statistics of Austria". He translated a popular work of a French author, J. Droz that was published in 1853 under the title "Political Economy or the Principles of Property". In 1858 two articles were published that are a variant Rieger's economic publication "Industry and its Production Process in its Influence on Prosperity and Freedom of People, namely the Workers" that was yet written during his stay in France and was not published earlier than in 1860. Then the wind of the events after the fall of the Bach regime brought F. L. Rieger to politics for good. He never returned to economics, but economic problems remained his main interest and the subject of his various activities, in particular in the Union for Stimulation of the Industry in Bohemia, whose member he was since 1844. He also continued to follow and collect economic literature, which was then inherited by his son-in-law, an economist Albín Bráf.

Gruber, Horáček and other experts considered F. L. Rieger to be the founder of  Czech economic literature and the first creator of  Czech economic erminology. According to Rieger's economic research paper, these were not a compilation of  foreign sources, as it was by other authors of  Czech economic literature that were before Albín Bráf. These were "mature" analysis, "scientific disputes", with the works of Smith and Engels, "which began to define the profile of Rieger as a Manchester liberalist, a convinced adherent of the slogan "laissez faire, laissez passer", which he assumed to be the only way to improve the social position of  mankind".

Mgr. Vladimír Seidl

On this page there can be found the following from the works of F. L. Rieger:

On Intangible Property and Immaterial Works and their Importance and Place in Economics. Praha, 1850
Industry and its Production Process in its Influence on Prosperity and Freedom of People, namely the Workers. Litomyšl, 1860
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