I was prompted to publish the following arguments by the opposition rather than the assent which they elicited from my audience. They offer colleagues in the same discipline, and others, new information only on points of detail, and the occasion that gave rise to them explains the special sense in which alone they lay claim to the name of ‘science’. Essentially, an inaugural lecture is an opportunity to present and justify openly the personal and, in this sense, ‘subjective’ standpoint from which one judges economic phenomena. The exposition on pages 17–20 was omitted for reasons of time and in view of the audience, while other parts of the argument may have assumed a different form when I was actually delivering them. It should be noted that the opening remarks give a very simplified account of events which were naturally a good deal more complicated in reality. During the period 1871–85 the population movements in individual districts and communities in West Prussia were not uniform, although they changed in characteristic ways, and they are much less transparent than the examples selected here. In other instances the tendency I have tried to illustrate from these examples is subject to the influence of other factors.
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