Economic Policy and Full Employment

Economic Policy and Full Employment

Economic Policy and Full Employment

Economic Policy and Full Employment

Excerpt

A book published in the year 1947 on Economic Policy and Full Employment is likely to encounter the criticism that no cognizance is taken of the immediate danger--inflation. Chapter I of this book is devoted to the inflation problem. And in several of the succeeding chapters the problem of maintaining stability comes up for discussion. In our modern, highly complicated economic order we are continually in danger. It is not easy to keep the system in balance.

We are compelled continually to keep our hand on the throttle in order to ensure an adequate, but not excessive, aggregate demand. That involves not only monetary and fiscal controls, but also, among other things, a balanced wage-and-price policy, control of monopoly, promotion of high productivity, technical progress, and, above all, social unity and cohesiveness. Stability, maximum production, and full employment are not easily achieved goals. We are perhaps out of the kindergarten stage, but we still have a long way to go.

Strangely enough, there is an amazing number of persons who are adverse to "looking ahead" when it comes to public policy questions. Why worry about full employment when the immediate problem is inflation? Not a few leading editorials and articles are devoted to this theme. In social engineering many of us are still in the stage of the primitive savage who sees no need in summer to lay up stores for the winter. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. To an incredible degree public policy in all advanced countries is guilty of improvisation from day to day. It requires long planning ahead to be prepared to meet a head-on depression. No modern nation has adequately undertaken such planning. Yet we know, as certainly as we know anything, that in a few years this problem will be upon us. Unprepared, we improvise on the spot, and the result is waste and inefficiency. That is not a wise procedure. Yet it is precisely the procedure . . .

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