Economic History of the South

Economic History of the South

Economic History of the South

Economic History of the South

Excerpt

Since the beginning of the present century it has become increasingly necessary to examine the basic economic factors of our civilization. At first glance this statement may seem paradoxical, inasmuch as there has been, during this period, a significant growth in wealth and income, and in the general standard of living. The fact is, however, that the economic system of today is more tenuous, and far more intricate and sensitive, than any that has yet been evolved. Furthermore, one can scarcely hope to achieve in the future the same rapid progress in wealth and income that has been realized during the past several decades. This progress has resulted in large measure from the abundance of natural resources and the momentum of our natural environment. If it remains true that the arts, religion, and learning "have meaning and vitality only in relation to their economic sub-structure," we can ill afford to preserve the calm indifference of the past toward precise thinking about economic policy.

The observation has frequently been made that the problems arising as an aftermath of the World War have been too vast and too complex for any human mind to grasp. The subnormal economic situation has penetrated to nearly every region of the earth. The difficulty of maintaining a harmonious adjustment of the delicate parts of the economic machine has led to an insistent demand for radical changes in government and social organization. Fundamental economic forces themselves are being challenged as though they may be readily controlled or altered by mere human fiat. Despite prevailing assertions, however, it seems clear that the stage has by no means been reached . . .

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