Roscher, Wilhelm (vĭlˈhĕlm rôshˈər) [key], 1817–94, German economist. A professor at the Univ. of Leipzig (1848–94), he was a founder of the German historical school of economics, which rejected the classical laissez-faire view. Roscher's work emphasized the developmental character of capitalism through detailed historical analyses of the cultures of ancient nations. His System der Volkswirtschaft (5 vol., 1854–94; tr. of 13th ed., Principles of Political Economy, 1878) was an influential textbook in the second half of the 19th cent. His most significant work is Geschichte der National-oekonomik in Deutschland (1874).