Economic Planning and the Tariff: An Essay on Social Philosophy

By James Gerald Smith | Go to book overview

PREFACE

TO AN increasing extent, serious thinkers are rallying to the view that the great variety of trade-restriction policies developed since the World War either through governments or through private monopolies, constitutes a menace to economic progress and World Peace. Price-fixing plans, tariffs, quota systems, exchange manipulation and other economic panaceas are of a similar character in this respect, namely, that they all effect restrictive measures of one form or another upon marketing of goods and services.

New and important aspects of policies for trade restriction have developed since the World War, and it is probably safe to assume that the general public has been bewildered by the variety of doctrines which have been presented with respect to tariffs, price fixing and similar measures. We need to review the case against trade-restriction policies and twentieth century pragmatic panacea-chasing in the light of these new developments. This can be done, not in the spirit of the free-trader philosophy of the past century, but in the perspective of conditions which exist in the world today and particularly in the United States; and it can be done with full appreciation of the social and economic trends of modern society towards a greater measure of collectivism or cooperation, as distinct from the laissez faire era.

The author's critical views of economic planning and price- fixing schemes are not to be interpreted as an attack upon the New Deal administration as such. The issues which are discussed in this book transcend partisan lines. It is recognized, moreover, that maladjustments persisting since the World War seem definitely to dictate the temporary application as palliatives, of measures, not only of control, but perhaps even of more positive direction of competitive forces. We had, by 1932, gone so far with ill-advised economic planning that it is quite reasonable to presume the necessity of counter-applied economic planning, in order to retrace the false steps and start anew on the right road. If this is the position taken by the New Deal, the present author's criticisms of it would be merely as to certain phases of it--notably the monetary phases. The author has no

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