THIS PREFACE IS intended as a personal note supplementary to the three chapters that constitute Part I and the reprinted text of my Twentieth Century Fund Report of 1938, which constitutes Part II. The reprinted chapters seem to me to require some additional comment. The new chapters were prepared jointly with my colleague Perry Mehrling, and on the whole I think they are excellent. Reading them over, however, I find that my current view is considerably more gloomy than those chapters express, and my policy proposals correspondingly more drastic.
I conclude with a sketch of the experience and observations that have shaped my views on debt problems, and of the broader problems of economic instability likely to plague the United States as we approach the end of the twentieth century.
For understanding the approach taken in Debts and Recovery, 1929 to 1937, it may help to have in mind the perspective of its author. Undergraduate study at Harvard (AB 1930) and graduate training at the University of Chicago in the 1930s conferred an institutionalist slant to my thought which has never left me. Jacob Viner was particularly influential in this regard, and it was he who found me the assignment of writing Debts and Recovery. Today institutionalism is not very respectable, but back then we