Great Inflation, 1939-1951

Great Inflation, 1939-1951

Great Inflation, 1939-1951

Great Inflation, 1939-1951

Excerpt

The inflation of 1939-51, in any sense one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in the history of the world economy, is clearly a large enough theme for one of the rare masterpieces of broad economic interpretation, or for several lesser works with more modest pretensions. I have no illusion as to the class into which this book falls. If it is pretentious in its scope, that is only because it seemed useful to compare, contrast, and, in part, analyse a number of different kinds of inflationary experience, even while the processes in question were still going on, and before more than a few of the detailed studies had appeared upon which some future writer will be able, no doubt, to base more considered and better documented judgements about this episode in history as a whole.

One of the main difficulties encountered by anyone trying in the last five or six years to understand the inflationary processes which had been going on since 1939, and were still very much in progress, arose from the unsatisfactory and rapidly changing nature of the theoretical framework at his disposal. Modern dynamic economics is a young subject, and the process of price increase under the pressure of excess demand or under the influence of expectations, after having attracted very little interest in the fifteen years before 1939, has been discussed in considerable detail since then and especially since the end of the war. Moreover, the institutional machinery by which prices and wages have been determined and changed has been quite largely different during the period of inflation from what had been assumed in most theoretical formulations; most of the theorists have not caught up with actuality.

This book, therefore, contains a certain amount of exposition of theory, not as a solid body of doctrine, but rather as separate introductions or frames of reference for each of the aspects of inflation which are discussed, the main object of the discussion being to find how well the facts of experience fit the framework. The first chapter is wholly theoretical, but has been kept as general and simple as possible, its main object (apart from mere definition) being to bring out the extent to which the economist . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.