Economic Problems of War and Its Aftermath

By Chester W. Wright | Go to book overview

ECONOMIC LESSONS FROM PREVIOUS WARS CHESTER W. WRIGHT

*

MY PURPOSE in this chapter is to survey the history of the country's three major wars, with the object of discovering what lessons can be learned from our previous efforts to meet the economic problems of war that will be of value for guidance in meeting these problems in the war in which the country is involved today. Despite the fact that the methods of warfare have been so completely altered by mechanization since the time of the American Revolution, and that each new war differs in its detailed problems from the last, it is possible to indicate various lessons of a rather general character, but for that very reason of the greatest importance, which this country might have learned from experiences that in many cases go back to Revolutionary times but which it had not thoroughly learned in 1917.1 Some of the more detailed lessons as regards specific problems are dealt with in other chapters of this volume.

There are three outstanding economic problems of war: first, getting the goods and services required for fighting; second, providing for the essential needs of the civilian popula

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1
For a more detailed account of the efforts of the United States to meet the economic problems of war during the Revolution, the Civil War, and World War I, see chaps. xii, xxviii, xlii, and xliii of my Economic History of the United States ( New York, 1941). References to other sources will be found in the Bibliography of that work. What may be considered as a supplement to this lecture, in that it attempts to show how what the United States has done thus far in making economic preparations for the current war compares with what was done in World War I, will be found in my article, "American Economic Preparations for War, 1914-1917 and 1939-1941," in the May, 1942, issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science.

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Economic Problems of War and Its Aftermath
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Table of Contents xi
  • War and the Early Industrial Revolution 1
  • Economic Lessons from Previous Wars Chester W. Wright 54
  • Next Steps in Financing the War Simeon E. Leland 78
  • Price Controls 112
  • The War State 126
  • The War and the Crisis Of Individualism 141
  • The Structure of Future Society 166
  • Index 191
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