The Karel Engliš Honorary Medal for Merit in the Social and Economic Sciences
The Karel Engliš Honorary Medal
for Merit in the Social and Economic Sciences
awarded by the Czech Academy of Sciences
This medal was established by the Academic Council of the Czech Academy of Sciences on February 14, 1995 for outstanding contributions of Czech and foreign scholars in the social and economic sciences.
Karel Engliš (1880–1961) acted as Professor at Masaryk University in Brno and at Charles University in Prague, and a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts in the field of national economics. After graduation of his law studies he practiced law briefly, and from 1910, he acted as a university lecturer. In 1919, he became the first Rector of the newly established Masaryk University in Brno. In 1947–1948, he was the last freely elected Rector of Charles University. After February 1948, he was forced to leave the University, suffered persecution, and was expelled from Prague in 1952. He spent the last years of his life in his hometown Hrabyně near Opava.
Between the two world wars, along with his academic duties, Karel Engliš participated in practical politics, acting as a Member of Parliament and for a number of years as Minister of Finance. He was also Governor of the Czech National Bank.
As a scholar, Karel Engliš strove for a theoretical mastery of the entire field of Economics in its broadest logical – noetic context. Against the causal explanation of economic relations taught by the Viennese School of Economics, which until that time was the dominant in Czechoslovakia, he proposed his teleological theory. He viewed economics as a science “about order, in which individuals and nations work for the maintenance and improvement of life.” He conceived of this order as purposeful, originating in a purposeful idea. From this standpoint he defined the basic economic categories as value, capital, prices and money. His life‘s work also made its contributions in the fields of sociology, philosophy and logic.
The scholarly contributions of Karel Engliš are gathered in his books: “Foundations of Economic Thought” (in Czech “Základy hospodářského myšlení,” 1922); “National Economy” (in Czech “Národní hospodářství,” 1924); “The Theory of the State Economy” (in Czech “Teorie státního hospodářství,” 1932); “Teleology as a Form of Scientific Understanding” (in Czech “Teleologie jako forma vědeckého poznání,” 1930); “The Science of Finance” (in Czech “Finanční věda,” 1929); “The System of National Economy” (in Czech “Soustava národního hospodářství,” 1938); and “Grand Logic” (in Czech “Velká logika,” 2 volumes). Most of his essays appeared in translation abroad, and they had great international impact (von Mises, Böhm-Bawerk, Schumpeter, von Hayek, Amonn). The Order of T. G. Masaryk For Outstanding Service to Democracy and Human Rights was awarded posthumously to Karel Engliš in 1991.
The Karel Engliš medal was designed by academic sculptor and medallist Jaroslav Veselák, a student of Prof. J. Kavan and Prof. J. Malejovský.