Samuel Pufendorf and Ludvig Holberg on Political Economy
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- Discussion papers (SAM) 
My interest in the history of economic thought goes several decades back. My studies in the Dano-Norwegian history of economic thought brought me to Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754). As many of you are aware of Holberg is known in the Nordic countries as a writer of comedies, an important representative of the Nordic Enlightenment and a creator of modern Dano-Norwegian letters. Only rarely is he known as an historian, jurist or political economist. My investigation into Holberg’s writings on political economy brought me to his Naturens og Folkerettens Kundskab (The Knowledge of Natural and International law). This book has substantial tracts of political economy. On the cover of the first edition from 1715 it says, “drawn from the works of the most distinguished jurists, in particular Grotius, Pufendorf and Thomasius”. It turned out that Samuel Pufendorf (1632-94) was his primary source. However, I had not heard the name and neither had my colleagues. The aim of this presentation is first to briefly outline Pufendorf’s contribution to natural law and political economy, the diffusion of his ideas and the influence he had on his successors. Thereafter to give a presentation of Holberg’s life, his discovery of Pufendorf and how he used his ideas in his own writings on both history and political economy. Finally, to discuss Holberg as a political economist and his influence on the development of political economy in Denmark-Norway.