Economic Planning and the Tariff: An Essay on Social Philosophy

By James Gerald Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
ECONOMIC PLANNING AND THE BUSINESS CYCLE

THE impact of business cycle theory upon political thought and action in the past has largely revolved about the monetary theories of the business cycle. That group of cycle theories alone has been recognized, so far as political action is concerned. It may be seriously doubted whether adequate remedies have been worked out upon the basis of the monetary theory of the business cycle, but its remedies have been tried. Prevailing political thought, at least in this country, has paid little attention until recently to the overproduction or underconsumption theories of the business cycle. These theories have been associated rather with minority political opinion of the groups known as socialists, communists, or laborites.


THE IMPACT OF BUSINESS CYCLE THEORY UPON POLITICAL THOUGHT AND ACTION

It seems evident at this time that important changes in political thought and action are in process in this country which can be traced clearly to the ideas of the business cycle which emphasize the overproduction or underconsumption hypotheses. The disequilibrium doctrinaires have seen their star rise into new heights of glory and respect. Emphasis has passed from the equilibrium theories identified with classical economic thought to the disequilibrium theories identified with Marx, Tugan Baranowsky, Aftalion, Foster and Catchings, to mention but a few.

To this ascendancy of disequilibrium economics and its possible significance in the immediate past and the future it is desired to direct attention in this chapter.


ASSUMPTIONS OF DETERMINISTIC MECHANISM BY DISEQUILIBRIUM THEORISTS

The disequilibrium theorists maintain that there is inherent in the economic situation an inevitable instability producing a business cycle. These unstabilizing forces act automatically in

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