A German Alternative to Mercantilism
In 1727, Frederick William I established university chairs in the cameral sciences at his Prussian universities of Halle and Frankfurt an der Oder. An effort to systematize and institutionalize the education of state officials, academic cameralism arose largely out of his frustrations with the abstract and somewhat impractical education that seemed to be common among his advisors. Many influential officials dismissed the cameral sciences as a waste of time, preferring instead the traditional mix of legal study and on-the-job training. Cameralist reformers, however, argued that the cameral sciences would generate society-wide benefits – both private and public. Their experiments in professional and practical science formed a bridge between natural philosophy and economic policy, yet one that was far more institutionalized in the state than the sort of Hartlibian brand of mercantilism found in England.
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