How Sweden Overcame the Depression, 1930-1933

By Arthur Montgomery | Go to book overview

III.
THE INDUSTRIAL EXPANSION IN THE 1920'S AND THE
CRISIS OF 1929.

As soon as the country had recovered from the shocks caused by the deflation crisis of 1920/22, there was ever-increasing evidence to show that, on the whole, Sweden's economic life was still being dominated by those same favourable tendencies that had marked the years immediately preceding the War. The demand for certain of Sweden's principal export articles was as keen as ever, the home market was developing satisfactorily, and, as regards the capital market, Sweden was developing more and more into a capital-exporting country with a relatively low interest level. Sweden was therefore one of those countries whose economic improvement after the deflation crisis covered a particularly wide field, and in fact the 1920's in Sweden represented a period of great industrial expansion.

From the figures showing the industrial production during the 1920's it is evident, however, that the expansion was stronger in the latter half than in the former half of that decade. The severe dislocation of production that marked the later years of the War had its effect also, to a certain extent, during the early post-war years, and even in 1920 the volume of industrial production was still apparently lower than in 1913. In other countries also the efficiency of production under post-war conditions was at first by no means satisfactory. Then the deflation set in, and the figures were forced down still further. However, by 1923 industrial production in Sweden had already again reached the 1920 level, and in 1924 and 1925 it seems to have been a few percent above the pre-war level, possibly around 10 %. In 1929, according to the Board of Trade's statistics, the figure was about 50 % above the pre-war level. Although there is reason to suspect that this index series, which indeed does not claim to be a true index of production, somewhat exaggerates the force of the expansion, there is no doubt that the growth was very strong and that it was especially during the latter half of the decade that a fresh extension of the apparatus of production took place.

Though largely favourable, then, the economic trend after 1922 was not quite constant. Around the year 1925 in particular there were signs of some

-23-

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