German sociologist and economist, author of The State


Franz Oppenheimer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Franz Oppenheimer (born 30 March 1864 in Berlin; died 30 September 1943 in Los Angeles) was a German sociologist and political economist, who published also in the area of the fundamental sociology of the state. ..."

Web Pages

Franz Oppenheimer Homepage
in German and English


Franz Oppenheimer Bibliographie
in German


Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including his early life, editorship of The Freeman, and notable books and essays
"Nock absorbed the ideas of German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer, whose radical book Der Staat was published in 1908. An English translation, The State, appeared in 1915. Oppenheimer had noted that there were only two fundamental ways of acquiring wealth—work and robbery. He declared that government was based on robbery."
Revisiting a Libertarian Classic: Nock's Our Enemy, the State, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
Examines some of the major themes of Nock's Our Enemy, the State
"Nock begins by drawing the contrast between what he called social power and state power. Here he reflects the influence of the classical-liberal sociologist Franz Oppenheimer, whose earlier book, The State, distinguished the only two ways to obtain wealth: the economic means and the political means. As Oppenheimer wrote, 'There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others ...'"
The Anatomy of the State, by Murray Rothbard, 1974
Examines several attributes of the State, including how it maintains and grows itself and how it deals with other States
"The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that there are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth; one ... he called the 'economic means.' The other ... is the method of one-sided confiscation, of theft of the property of others. This is the method which Oppenheimer termed 'the political means' to wealth."
The Roots of Modern Libertarian Ideas, by Brian Doherty, Cato Policy Report, Mar 2007
Survey of the history of libertarian ideas, from ancient China and Greece to 20th century writers
"Libertarian ideas about human politics go back even to prehistory, to the creation of the state itself. Although theories of the origins of the state are merely implicit in most libertarian writers, the German anthropologist Franz Oppenheimer described its origin in The State as being in blood and conquest, the result of conquerors trying to live off others' efforts through taxation and the provision of 'protection.' Oppenheimer distinguished between the 'political' means of acquiring wealth—taking it—and the 'economic' means—production and exchange."

Books Authored

The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically, 1908
Contents: Theories of the State - The Genesis of the State - The Primitive Feudal State - The Maritime State - The Development of the Feudal State - The Development of the Constitutional State - The Tendency of the Development of the State
Related Topic: The State