Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch

(Delitzsch 1808 - Potsdam 1883)

He was a liberal-reformist politician, economist and banker, founder of the artisan and credit cooperation. In Delitzsch, his native village, he founded the first cooperatives of artisans and published the ‘Libro dell’associazione’, a practical guide for the cooperative world.

He wrote several works that inspired other European intellectuals, in addition to the German legislation. The first Prussian legislation, compared to cooperation, in fact, was developed to his design. His mindset on cooperativism was inspired by Bastiat’s work; men could associate spontaneously without being supported by a governative or state action.

Thanks to him the model of credit institution by Volksbank, that means Popular Bank (that differs from the “casse rurali” by Raiffeisen), was developed: in popular banks the illimited responsibility of members was mitigated by the presence of a risk capital: as a guarantee for the members themselves in the event of the company dissolution. His thought inspired Luigi Luzzatti, founder of the popular banks in Italy.

Nowadays the Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch Gesellschaft is active, an association that aims to preserve and disseminate the thought of the German intellectual. The association manages the Schulze-Delitzsch Haus, with a museum dedicated to the creation of German cooperatives and his mindset. It also handles the publication of many texts on cooperativism, available as well in electronic version.
The website:

His main works:

Vorschuss und Kreditvereine als Volksbanken (1855);
Die arbeitenden Klassen und das Associationswesen in Deutschland (1858);
Die Entwicklung des Genossenschaftswesen (1870)

Further reading:

H. Schulze-Delitzsch, Delle unioni di credito ossia delle banche popolari, Leonardo International, 2008 (ristampa anastatica dell’opera del 1871)