Hertzka, Theodor

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HERTZKA, THEODOR (1845–1924), Hungarian economist and journalist. Hertzka, who was born in Budapest, edited the economics section of the Neue Freie Presse from 1872 until 1879, when he founded and became editor of the Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung. In 1889 he established and became editor of the weekly Zeitschrift fuer Staats- und Volkswirtschaft and in 1901 was appointed editor in chief of the Budapest daily, Magyar Hirlap. Hertzka became known mainly through two novels, Freiland, ein sociales Zukunftsbild (1890; Freeland; a Social Anticipation, 1891) and Eine Reise nach Freiland (1893; A Visit to Freeland, or the New Paradise Regained, 1894). In these, he proposed a solution to the problems of society by the establishment in Central Africa of a model state, comprising a series of farming communes, which would be so organized as to avoid the drawbacks of both the capitalist and the communist systems. Hertzka established an international movement to carry out his plan and in 1893 a mission went to Africa to secure land for settlement. But the mission failed and the project was abandoned. Hertzka was influenced in his ideas by the U.S. economist and land reformer, Henry George, and in his turn influenced Franz *Oppenheimer, particularly in the areas of liberal socialism and cooperation. Theodor *Herzl was familiar with Hertzka's Freiland when he wrote Der Judenstaat. In a letter to Moritz Guedemann (Aug. 22, 1895), and in a reference in the introduction to Der Judenstaat, Herzl emphasized the difference between his plan and Freiland, which he described as a well-assembled machine, but one incapable of being set in motion. Hertzka's other writings include DieGesetze der socialen Entwicklung (1885), Das Wesen des Geldes (1887), and Das Sociale Problem (1912).


T. Herzl, Complete Diaries, ed. by R. Patai, 1 (1960), 237; idem, Zionist Writings, 1 (1955); idem, Letters, 2 (1958); J.O. Hertzler, History of Utopian Thought (1926); F. Oppenheimer, Erlebtes, Erstrebtes, Erreichtes: Errinerungen (1931, 19642); H. Ross, Utopias Old and New (1938), 159–75; R. Ruyer, L'Utopie et les Utopies (1950); G. Negley and J.M. Patrick, Quest for Utopia (1952).

[Isa Perlis-Kressel]