The Causes of Economic Fluctuations: Possibilities of Anticipation and Control

By Willford I. King | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
SOCIAL COST OF UNSTABLE PRODUCTION

Are Great Oscillations in Business Inevitable? -- Because of our long experience with business fluctuations, the belief is today practically universal that huge swings in industrial activity are an inevitable concomitant of our capitalistic, competitive economy. Recessions have been regarded as something which must be endured, since they cannot be avoided. In general, therefore, the belief is that they may as well be taken philosophically.

However, the unprecedented severity of the depression which followed 1929 has led many thinking persons to question seriously whether or not the ups and downs of business ought to be regarded with complacency. The Russian contention that their socialistic system has eliminated the problem of depression has led many careful thinkers to inquire as to whether the Russian planned economy may not be worth imitating. May it not be possible to stabilize business at its average or normal level?

The Level at Which Stabilization Is Practicable. -- More radical thinkers go even further in their plans for improving the situation. Early in the depression, the Technocrats began drawing iridescent pictures of what our nation might produce if, instead of allowing politicians and business men to operate a muddled competitive system, engineers were put in charge of our national productive machinery, and began operating it in accordance with carefully devised plans, all laid out in blueprints. A little later, William H. Lough, a recognized authority on business finance, published a book with the thought-provoking title, High Level Consumption,1 and Mordecai Ezekiel, the brilliant statistical economist connected with the United States Department of Agriculture, discussed the possibility of utilizing a program

____________________
1
McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 1935.

-266-

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The Causes of Economic Fluctuations: Possibilities of Anticipation and Control
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Charts xiii
  • Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION 3
  • References 18
  • Chapter 2 - CHARACTERISTICS OF BUSINESS DEPRESSIONS 20
  • References 47
  • Chapter 3 - RECORD OF BUSINESS DEPRESSIONS IN THE UNITED STATES 49
  • References 72
  • Chapter 4 - MISLEADING EXPLANATIONS OF THE ORIGINS OF DEPRESSIONS 74
  • References 107
  • Chapter 5 - INADEQUATE EXPLANATIONS OF THE ORIGINS OF DEPRESSIONS 109
  • References 124
  • Chapter 6 - THE DEPRESSION CULTURE-MEDIUM 125
  • REFFRENCES 134
  • Chapter 7 - THE DEPRESSION'S ORIGIN 138
  • References 168
  • Chapter 8 - FORCES TENDING TO ACCENTUATE AND PROLONG DEPRESSIONSS 169
  • References 194
  • Chapter 9 - INEFFECTIVE WAYS OF COMBATING DEPRESSION 196
  • References 207
  • Chapter 10 - FORCES COMMONLY TENDING TO END DEPRESSION 209
  • References 222
  • Chapter 11 - CYCLES 223
  • References 244
  • Chapter 12 - THE POSSIBILITY OF FORECASTING BUSINESS FLUCTUATIONS 247
  • References 263
  • Chapter 13 - SOCIAL COST OF UNSTABLE PRODUCTION 266
  • References 279
  • Chapter 14 - WAYS TO MINIMIZE DEPRESSION 282
  • References 311
  • Chapter 15 - WAYS TO MINIMIZE DEPRESSION (CONTINUED) 313
  • References 337
  • Index 339
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