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Modern Economic Problems   By: (1863-1949)

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First Page:

Economics Volume II

MODERN ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

BY

FRANK A. FETTER, PH.D., LL.D.

PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

1916

TO THE MOTHER WITH A YOUTHFUL HEART AND SYMPATHETIC INTEREST IN ALL THINGS HUMAN

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I. RESOURCES AND ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION.

1. Material resources of the nation

2. The present economic system

PART II. MONEY AND PRICES.

3. Nature, use, and coinage of money

4. The value of money

5. Fiduciary money, metal and paper

6. The standard of deferred payments

PART III. BANKING AND INSURANCE.

7. The functions of banks

8. Banking in the United States before 1914

9. The Federal Reserve Act

10. Crises and industrial depressions

11. Institutions for saving and investment

12. Principles of insurance

PART IV. TARIFF AND TAXATION.

13. International trade

14. The policy of a protective tariff

15. American tariff history

16. Objects and principles of taxation

17. Property and corporation taxes

18. Personal taxes

PART V. PROBLEMS OF THE WAGE SYSTEM.

19. Methods of industrial remuneration

20. Organized labor

21. Public regulation of hours and wages

22. Other protective labor and social legislation

23. Social insurance

24. Population and immigration

PART VI. PROBLEMS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION.

25. Agricultural and rural population

26. Problems of agricultural economics

27. The railroad problem

28. The problem of industrial monopoly

29. Public policy in respect to monopoly

30. Public ownership

31. Some aspects of socialism

Index

FOREWORD

The present volume deals with various practical problems in economics, as a volume published a year earlier dealt with the broader economic principles of value and distribution. To the student beginning economics and to the general reader the study of principles is likely to appear more difficult than does that of concrete questions. In fact, the difficulty of the latter, tho less obvious, is equally great. The study of principles makes demands upon thought that are open and unmistakable; its conclusions, drawn in the cold light of reason, are uncolored by feeling, and are acceptable of all men so long as the precise application that may justly be made of them is not foreseen. But conclusions regarding practical questions of public policy, tho they may appear to be simple, usually are biased and complicated by assumptions, prejudices, selfish interests, and feelings, deep rooted and often unsuspected.

No practical problem in the field of economics can be solved as if it were solely and purely an economic problem. It is always in some measure also a political, moral, and social problem. The task of the economist "as such" is the analysis of the economic valuation aspects of these problems. We may recall Francis A. Walker's comparison of the economist's task with that of the chemist, which task, in a certain case, was to analyze the contents of a vial of prussic acid, not to give advice as to the use to make of it. Accordingly, in the following pages, the author has endeavored primarily to develop the economic aspects of each problem, and has repeatedly given warning when the discussion or the conclusions began to transcend strict economic limits. In many questions feeling is nine tenths of reason. If the reader has different social sympathies he may prefer to draw different conclusions from the economic analysis.

The outlook and sympathies that are expressed or tacitly assumed throughout this work are not so much those personal to the author as they are those of our present day American democratic society, taken at about its center of gravity. When the people generally feel differently as to the ends to be attained, a different public policy must be formulated, tho the economic analysis may not need to be changed. Therefore, in some cases, the author has discussed merely the economic aspect, or has referred to the general principles treated in volume one, and has purposely refrained from expressing his personal judgment as to "the best" policy for the moment... Continue reading book >>




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