Prepared by “Encyclopedia Lituanica”. II. Boston, 1972. P. 567-568.
JURGUTIS, Vladas (1885-1966), economist and statesman, born in Palanga on Oct. 24, 1885. He studied at the Theological Seminary in Kaunas from 1902-06 and at the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg from 1906-10 where he gained a master's degree. His well developed thesis on Karl Marx Theory of Surplus Value showed his aptitude for economics, which he studied at the University of Munich from 1910-13. After World War I for a time he was professor at the Theological Seminary in Kaunas. In 1920-22 he was a member of the Constituent Assembly (Steigiamasis Seimas), proveing himself an expert in matters of finance. From Feb. 2 to Sept. 28, 1920 he was minister of foreign affairs.
When the Bank of Lithuania was founded and opened for business on Oct. 2, 1922, Jurgutis was appointed governor of the bank, retaining that position until 1929. At that time in Lithuania the German mark, called auksinas, plagued by unprecedented inflation, was still in circulation. The Bank of Lithuania was established as the central bank of the country; its main duty was to maintain a stable national currency (litas) based on the international gold standard. Jurgutis, being the first governor of the Bank of Lithuania, laid down the principles upon which the bank's policy was directed throughout the period of Lithuanian independence.
The second important field of his activity was academic work at the University of Kaunas from 1925-40 and at the University of Vilnius from 1940-43. In the former he was professor of public finance, giving special attention to historical study of financial theories and ideas. Regarding public revenue he stressed the principle of public welfare and the necessity of allocating taxes according to the economic capabilities of the individual. He believed that a tax system based on personal, and direct income taxes was the most progressive and just. As professor of money and banking ho advocated a currency based on the gold standard and a central bank independent of government administration. His seminars for graduate students were especially well conducted and of a high academic level. Most of the young economics specialists were graduates of his seminars. From 1941-43 Jurgutis was president of the Lithuanian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Vilnius.
He was greatly appreciated as a professor by his students and he enjoyed his academic work, but it was interrupted on March 16, 1943, when the Germans arrested and deported him to the concentration camp at Stutthof; there he endured brutal tortures until the spring of 1945. Returning to Lithuania, he spent his last twenty years in complete isolation from the western world under the Soviet system in Vilnius, where he died on Jan. 9, 1966, almost blind.
He published three major works in 1938-40: Finansu mokslo pagrindai (Principles of Public Finance, 490 pp.), Pinigai (Money, 357 pp.) and Bankai (Banking, 582 pp.). A number of comprehensive articles by him were published in scientific journals; a series of his works remained in manuscripts. He also was the initiator of several statutes, the more important of which were the law on Lithuania's fiscal monopolies and excise taxes, and the National Banking Act.
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