Comparative Economic Systems

Comparative Economic Systems

Comparative Economic Systems

Comparative Economic Systems

Excerpt

The study of comparative economic systems was interesting and profitable even in the old days when the only alternatives to existing capitalism were found in the theoretical systems of socialism and communism. With the development of the planned economy of Soviet Russia and the fascist systems of Italy and Germany, this study became important as well as interesting. Today questions in the field of comparative economic systems are of vital importance. They are questions of the hour. Differences between national economies played a significant role in producing the Second World War and in the conduct of that struggle. An understanding of them will be necessary to the construction of a lasting peace. The growing importance of the study of comparative economic systems has found expression in the development of courses in this field in colleges and universities all over the country in recent years. This book is intended primarily to serve as a textbook for such courses.

The approach to the study of comparative economic systems used in the present volume is distinctive. The textbooks already in use are content simply to analyze one economic system after another until the entire list of systems has been covered. It seems to me that it may be questioned whether this is the best method for effecting comparisons of economic systems, for students are likely to forget much of what they have read concerning earlier economic systems by the time they reach the systems which are treated later in the book. In studying the control of prices or the distribution of income in Germany under National Socialism, the students are handicapped by the fact that it has been from one to three months since these same topics were studied in connection with capitalism, socialism, or the Soviet Russian economy.

In the present volume the organization of the material is by economic topics rather than by economic systems. The topics covered in Part One, which deals with Comparative Economic Systems proper, include economic principles; economic institutions; government; the making of important economic decisions (whether by means of the price system, economic planning, or some combination . . .

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