International Economic Instability: The Experience after World War II

International Economic Instability: The Experience after World War II

International Economic Instability: The Experience after World War II

International Economic Instability: The Experience after World War II

Excerpt

This study is an outgrowth of my academic interest and governmental involvement in the problem of international economic instability. In studying and teaching courses in international economics and economic fluctuations, I have found the international aspects of the instability problem intriguing--and not very satisfactorily described and analyzed. From 1945 to 1953 and again in 1961-62 I dealt with this problem from the vantage point of the United States Department of State in connection with a variety of policy proposals.

The opportunity to undertake intensive research in this field came in 1959-60 as a result of my receiving a sabbatical leave from Earlham College and a National Research Professorship from the Brookings Institution. The research work was done at Stanford University through the courtesy of the Food Research Institute.

This study is largely descriptive and analytical. There is very little abstract theorizing in it. Policy considerations are in the background except in the final chapter. I believe that the description and analysis do, however, expose the inadequacies of simple theories and throw some new light on policies in this field.

Fortunately, most of the statistical series carry through the year 1958, which in many ways can be considered the last year of the post-World War II economic reconstruction period. Inflation had been brought under control in many countries, balances of payments in the principal countries were fairly close to equilibrium, international monetary reserves of the principal countries had been substantially restored, and the currencies of the principal trading countries were generally convertible. Thus this study treats a rather well-defined historical period, 1946 to 1958.

Lothar H. Huhne, Patricia E. Rogow, Joseph Bornstein, and Margaret P. Apgar provided competent statistical and clerical assistance. Professor Frank W. Fetter of Northwestern University read the manuscript and made many useful suggestions. My principal acknowledgment is to my wife, Esther McKenzie Coppock, to whom this book is dedicated. She graciously arranged to move the family across the country, and she encouraged completion of the manuscript in every possible way.

Joseph D. Coppock . . .

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