In Memoriam: Adolph Lowe, 1893-1995

Article excerpt

A pathbreaking economist and a lifelong advocate of freedom, Professor Adolph Lowe, last surviving member of the faculty of Alvin Johnson's "university-in-exile" - the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of New York's New School for Social Research - died in Wolfenbuttel, Germany on June 3, 1995. He was 102 years old.

Dr. Lowe was associated with the American Journal of Economics and Sociology from 1940 until his passing. Even earlier in 1935, in the course of preparing to found the Journal, I encountered his book, entitled Economics and Sociology: A Plea for Co-operation in the Social Sciences. The words that appear towards the bottom of the front cover of every issue of this Journal" constructive synthesis in the social sciences" are the words of John Dewey which were used by Lowe in his dedication of the book to both Franz Oppenheimer, the great Georgist and a founder of modern German sociology, and the latter's successor at the University of Frankfort, Karl Mannheim.

Despite the Journal's early championing of an interdisciplinary approach to social science and the widespread adoption of it in higher education, the first doctorate in the research approach it favored was awarded only in 1995. This is a long time after the 1920s when a committee on urban problems advocated it at the University of Chicago.

John Dewey taught philosophy at Chicago and the approach originated within the age-old history of philosophy when synthesis became one of its primary goals. The aim was to add to the corpus of human knowledge a synthesis based on facts tested and derived from science.

Oppenheimer, a physician with a second doctorate in economics, and his friend, colleague, literary executor, and lawyer turned economist, Lowe, became advocates of internal colonization as a means of ending the societal alienation of people made redundant by technological progress. Oppenheimer founded colonies in Germany which flourished until Hitler suppressed them because most of the colonists were of the Jewish faith. Both scholars had been among the major influences on the construction of the economy and society of the State of Israel.

Adolph Lowe was born in Stuttgart in Southwest Germany, one of the centers of bourgeois revolution in 1848, and educated in Berlin and Tubingen. From 1919 to 1924 he was Section Head in the Ministries of Labor and Economics of the Weimar Republic. Then he became Head of the International Division of the German Federal Statistical Bureau. …