Income and Economic Progress

Income and Economic Progress

Income and Economic Progress

Income and Economic Progress

Excerpt

If a nation is to act intelligently in accelerating its rate of economic progress, the first step seems clearly to be that of ascertaining what its productive capacity in fact is and how fully it is being utilized. A vast amount of discussion in recent years has centered around such catchwords or phrases as "technological unemployment," "enforced leisure," "over-production," and "excess capacity." These ideas all come back to the basic assumption that as machines have been displacing men at an accelerating rate, the productivity of these machines, so largely automatic or semi-automatic, has to such an extent outrun the purchasing power of the market that they, like the workers, are intermittently idle or are forced into complete unemployment long before they have rounded out the normal span of useful life.

Before we can arrive at any trustworthy conclusion as to whether our industrial equipment is in fact excessive, adequate, or inadequate, it is necessary to go back of these general impressions and fragmentary bits of evidence to apply some comprehensive and reasonably accurate measure of what the nation's productive capacity actually is and of the extent to which it has been utilized. Such was the task we undertook in the volume, America's Capacity to Produce .

PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY, 1900-29

Since the implication of current discussion is that our productive capacity has grown with enormous rapidity . . .

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