Friedrich Pollock

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Friedrich Pollock (22 May 1894 – 16 December 1970) was a German social scientist and philosopher. He was one of the founders of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main, and a member of the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxist theory.


Friedrich Pollock was born to a leather factory owner in Freiburg im Breisgau. Pollock's Jewish-born father turned away from Judaism, and raised his son accordingly.[1] Pollock was educated in finance 1911 to 1915. During this time he met Max Horkheimer, with whom he became a lifelong friend. He then studied economy, sociology and philosophy in Frankfurt am Main, where he wrote his thesis on Marx's labor theory of value and received his doctorate in 1923.

The Institute for Social Research was founded in 1924 by Pollock and fellow Marxist Felix Weil, who funded the group. Weil was inspired to found the institute after the success of his week-long conference, the First Marxist Workweek, in 1923. Weil's goal was to bring together different schools of Marxism, and included György Lukács, Karl Korsch, Karl August Wittfogel, and Friedrich Pollock.

In 1927/1928 Pollock traveled to the Soviet Union in honor of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. His research there led to his treatise: Attempts at Planned Economy in the Soviet Union 1917-1927. Thereafter he took a post as lecturer at the University of Frankfurt and he replaced the ill Carl Grünberg as Director of the institute from 1928-1930.

Prior to the Nazi seizure of power, Pollock had used his contacts in the International Labour Organization to establish a Geneva branch of the Institute.[2] In 1933, Pollock and Horkheimer moved into exile, first in Geneva, then to London, Paris, and finally New York.

In 1950, he was finally able to return to Frankfurt, taking part in the reestablishment of the Institute, again taking the role of director. From 1951 to 1958 he was professor of national economy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt.

In 1959, Pollock and Horkheimer moved to Montagnola, Ticino, Switzerland, although Pollock held a position as professor Emeritus at the University of Frankfurt until 1963. He died in Montagnola in 1970.

Selected works

  • Werner Sombart's "Refutation" of Marxism, Leipzig, 1926
  • Attempts at Planned Economy in the Soviet Union 1917-1927, Leipzig, 1929
  • State Capitalism: Its Possibilities and Limitations; Studies in Philosophy and Social Science Vol. IX, 1941[3]
  • Is National Socialism a New Order? Studies in Philosophy and Social Science Vol. IX, 1941
  • Group Experiments : A Study by Friedrich Pollock, Frankfurt a.M., 1955
  • Automation : Materials for the Evaluation of the Economic and Social Consequences, Frankfurt a. M., 1956
  • Possibilities and Borders of Social Planning in Capitalism, 1973


  1. Wiggershaus, Rolf. (transl. Michael Robertson). The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance, MIT Press, 1994, p. 42
  2. Löwenthal, Leo (1981). "Origins of Critical Theory: An Interview". Telos (49): 142–3. 
  3. Pollock, Friedrich (1978). "The Essential Frankfurth School Reader". Blackwell: 71.  |contribution= ignored (help)

External links