The Illusion of Economic Stability

The Illusion of Economic Stability

The Illusion of Economic Stability

The Illusion of Economic Stability

Excerpt

Eat, drink, and be merry is the counsel of Ecclesiastes; but man, fool that he is, insists upon fretting about the future of his soul. Held prisoner by fears, he can seldom act rationally. He warns his children of the dangers of indulgence and then spends his days stinting himself so that he may transfer to them hoards of earthly possessions. In a world such as this, it is scarcely surprising that the course of events is as much influenced by visions of the future as it is limited by conditions of the past.

Business enterprise is no exception. The market moves in response to myriad purchases and sales, the vast majority of which are entered into by traders under pressures so relentless that they cannot be ignored. Yet every exchange is not dictated. Many are executed with an eye more to future advantage than to present necessity. But the future is unknown and, at best, the present can be studied only in the hope that it may suggest a clue or two. Serious difficulties confront the student of the present, for he can differentiate between the growing and the dying, between the strong and impotent, only by the use of attitudes. Admixtures of experience and reflection, attitudes are always prisoners of the past. More likely than not, they will prove insensitive to the new, especially when the new is embryonic. So long as economic development depends not only upon automatic responses to momentary . . .

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