The rise of a general interest in the study of business cycles and in forecasting business conditions affords an illustration of one of the most distinctive characteristics of current economic thought. A few years ago interest centered in long-run tendencies, normal conditions, free competition, pure monopoly, and similar concepts. Economics dealt primarily with the operation of a few powerful forces, other things being equal. In recent years attention has shifted, to a noteworthy extent, to the other things which are not equal. In place of generalizations based on assumptions of complete utilization of resources and smooth unobstructed flow of goods from producer to consumer, attention is being directed to stresses and strains, inequalities and maladjustments. Typical of this point of view is the interest in those recurrent maladjustments which we call crises and depressions.
Two points of view characterize the literature which expresses this current interest, corresponding to a cleavage which has appeared in the general interest of students of business phenomena, dividing them into students of public economy and students of business administration. The one group seeks to understand economic phenomena in order to formulate methods by which the public interest may be promoted. The other's primary interest is in ereat-