Utility and All That: And Other Essays

By D. H. Robertson | Go to book overview

9
DOES BRITAIN FACE COLLAPSE?

IN February 1948 a group of Empire journalists asked me to comment on the economic situation in the form of replies to a questionnaire which they had drawn up. The result, as subsequently published in the MelbourneArgus, was as follows.

Question No. 1: Sir Stafford Cripps states that the position has deteriorated greatly in the last six months. Is it not likely that it will continue to deteriorate? By that I mean that most of the countries in the sterling area will be unable to close the gap in their balance of payments by existing methods.

Reply No. 1: I must not presume to interpret Sir Stafford, but I may point out that the word 'deteriorate' is ambiguous. According to the recent White Paper (Cmd. 7324) the rate at which the United Kingdom was losing net gold and dollar reserves declined progressively from August to December, though there seems reason to fear that the decline did not continue in January and February. In this sense the position has not deteriorated in the last six months, though of course in another sense, so long as the drain on net reserves continues, the position continues to deteriorate.

I should have thought there was still reason to hope that as the measures already taken in the United Kingdom and the other parts of the Sterling Area become increasingly effective the rate of net loss will decline; but I see no hope of its sinking to zero in the near future in default of Marshall aid.

Question No. 2: Do you regard the Marshall Plan as an effective instrument for the economic recovery of Western Europe, or could it not be a mere repetition of the 1946 American loan to Britain?

Reply No. 2: The question carries a certain implication that the American loan to Britain has been ineffective as an instrument of recovery. To this I would not agree. Some of the conditions

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Utility and All That: And Other Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 9
  • Part I 11
  • 1 - UTILITY AND ALL THAT 13
  • 2 - THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK 42
  • 3 - ON STICKING TO ONE'S LAST 60
  • 4 - REVOLUTIONIST'S HANDBOOK 66
  • Part II 81
  • 5 - WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE RATE OF INTEREST 83
  • 6 - SOME NOTES ON THE THEORY OF INTEREST 97
  • 7 - BRITISH NATIONAL INVESTMENT POLICY 116
  • Part III 133
  • 8 - THE PROBLEM OF EXPORTS 135
  • 9 - DOES BRITAIN FACE COLLAPSE? 140
  • 10 - WESTERN EUROPEAN ECONOMIC UNION 148
  • 11 - BRITAIN AND EUROPEAN RECOVERY 157
  • 12 - BRETTON WOODS 169
  • 13 - THE TERMS OF TRADE1 174
  • Part IV 183
  • 14 - IS THERE A FUTURE FOR BANKING? 185
  • 15 - NEW LIGHT ON AN OLD STORY 192
  • 16 - STABLE MONEY 201
  • INDEX OF PERSONS 206
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