The Pure Theory of Politics

By Bertrand Jouvenel De | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
THE COMMITTEE, II (FORESIGHT,
VALUES AND PRESSURES)

It has been stressed that we have to deal with forward-looking decisions. Let us start with a simple instance: 'the President's deficit problem'. The imaginary situation is as follows. In January a recession is in progress; the President must now decide upon a balanced or unbalanced budget for a period beginning six months hence and ending eighteen months hence. We assume that the budget is his only means of action upon the economy and that no subsequent correction will be possible.

Two circumstances independent of the President's will may present themselves: in the course of the budgetary period an economic recovery may spontaneously occur, or it may not occur. If recovery occurs early in the period the President's 'soft' budget will produce inflation. If no recovery occurs the President's 'hard' budget will leave the recession to its downward course.1 Thus the President may fall into two evils: inflation if he budgets for a deficit and the circumstance 'recovery' appears, and depression if he budgets for balance and the circumstance which appears is 'continuing recession'. On the other hand he will do well if he budgets for balance and recovery appears or if, recession tending to continue, his deficit happens to be timely for the restoration of prosperity. Calling the three possible outcomes inflation, depression and prosperity, we can group the eventualities in a simple 'pay-off' table.

Future circumstance
RecessionRecovery
PresentBalancedepressionprosperity
decisionDeficitprosperityinflation

Now the President calls four advisers: A, B, C and D. Let us take them in pairs. A and B both regard the evils of inflation and depression as equivalent. They disagree, however, on the likelihood of

____________________
1
We are not here dealing in economics, we do not have to consider the eventuality of a deficit occurring through the very progress of the recession.

-157-

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The Pure Theory of Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I- Approach- Politics as History 1
  • Chapter 1- Configuration and Dynamics 3
  • Chapter 3- On the Nature of Political Science 29
  • Part II- Setting- Ego in Otherdom 41
  • Chapter 1- Of Man 43
  • Chapter 2- Home 48
  • Chapter 3- Otherdom 55
  • Part III- Action- Instigation and Response 67
  • Chapter 1- Instigation 69
  • Chapter 2- Response 83
  • Part IV- Authority- ''Potestas'' and ''Potentia'' 97
  • Chapter 1- On Being Heard 99
  • Chapter 2- The Law of Conservative Exclusion 109
  • Chapter 3- Place and Face 118
  • Part V- Decision 129
  • Chapter 1- The People 131
  • Chapter 2- The Committee, I (judicial or Political) 146
  • Chapter 3- The Committee, II (foresight, Values and Pressures) 157
  • Part VI- Attitudes 167
  • Chapter 1- Attention and Intention 169
  • Chapter 2- The Team against the Committee 176
  • Chapter 3- The Manners of Politics 187
  • Addendum the Myth of the Solution 204
  • Conclusion 213
  • Index 215
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