The Nature of Capitalist Crisis

The Nature of Capitalist Crisis

The Nature of Capitalist Crisis

The Nature of Capitalist Crisis

Excerpt

Works of economics by non-professional economists are justly suspect. Too frequently their authors have not taken the precaution to acquaint themselves with the main body of existing economic knowledge before setting down their own views. The result has been a great waste of effort. The greater number of amateur economists have either rediscovered truths which were already known, though not to them; or they have fallen into errors which, however plausible, have been exposed in the course of the economic controversies of the last one hundred and fifty years.

And yet both the present state of the science and the present state of the world almost compel all thinking men and women to examine economics for themselves. For the science is divided into two schools, the capitalist and the Marxist, and these schools are contradictory. And the state of the world is still more challenging. The condition of the world compels us to attempt the discovery of the causes and remedies for our mounting ills. For all around us we see man's newly won power and knowledge being used to destroy our civilisation and us with it. Moreover, the question of the destruction or development of human civilisation is not for our generation an academic or ideal issue. It involves our destruction or our development. It means life or death to us personally. Peace or war; plenteous security or cumulative destitution; these issues involve the lives of every one of us.

But what are we to do? In order to answer that question, a resort to the science of political economy is inevitable. For if we attempt to act without such study, we shall not escape from acting upon the basis of some economic theory: we shall merely rely upon unconsidered, superficial, and so almost certainly fallacious, economic theory. For political economy alone professes to tell us of determinate relationships between our actions, whether collective or individual, and their social consequences. Hence our activities are bound to be profoundly affected by our economic opinions. These . . .

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