Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting

By Wesley C. Mitchell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS ANNALS.

I. The National Bureau's Collection of Business Annals.

Several of the theorists whose writings were laid under contribution in Chapter I--notably Tugan-Baranovski, Bouniatian and Lescure--have devoted much attention to the history of crises and depressions. Similarly, some of the statisticians referred to in Chapter III--for example, Warren M. Persons and his colleagues--have supplemented their time series on occasion by preparing annual summaries of business conditions. But the histories have dealt largely with what was common in the episodes treated, and the summaries have been confined to rather brief periods in a few countries. For theoretical uses, there is needed a systematic record of cyclical alternations of prosperity and depression, covering all countries in which the phenomena have appeared, and designed to make clear the recurrent features of the alternations. If the view taken in Chapter II of the circumstances under which business cycles occur is valid, it may not be impracticable to make a modest descriptive record of this sort which approximates completeness.

While the National Bureau of Economic Research has not been able to perform this whole task, it has sought to form a larger collection of what we may call "business annals" than has been available hitherto. Dr. Willard L. Thorp, who directed the work of compilation, ransacked the rich resources of the New York Public Library for official documents, reports, pamphlets, periodicals, and books dealing systematically or incidentally with business conditions in various countries. The generous coöperation of several foreign scholars brought additional materials and special knowledge to the work.1 For every year and every country covered, the plan required a digest

____________________
1
Professor Albert Aftalion of Paris reviewed the French annals, Dr. Robert R. Kuczynaki of Berlin the German annals, Dr. F. A. von Hayek of Vienna the Austrian annals, Dr. Robert F. Foerster the Italian annals, Dr. E. H. D. Arndt of Transvaal University the South African annals, and Drs. N. D. Kondratieff, A. L. Vainstein and M. B. Ignatieff of the Conjuncture Institute, Moscow, the Russian annals.

-361-

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Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • List of Charts xviii
  • Chapter I - The Processes Involved in Business Cycles. 1
  • Chapter II - Economic Organization and Business Cycles. 61
  • Viii. Conclusion. 180
  • Chapter III - The Contribution of Statistics 189
  • Chapter IV - The Contribution of Business Annals. 361
  • Chapter V - Results and Plans. 451
  • Addenda 475
  • Index 481
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