Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 17, 2014

in Intervention, Man of System, War

… is from pages 4-5 of Lionel Robbins‘s 1934 volume, The Great Depression; here, Robbins describes – in proto-Higgsian fashion – conditions, and some consequences of those conditions, in Great Britain during the dozen or so years following the end of World War I:

The successful prosecution of war involved, as we have seen, a large and discontinuous alteration of the “set” of the apparatus of production.  This alteration was carried through.  But the measures which were necessary to bring it about – the centralisation of control of industrial operations – were such as permanently to impair its capacity for further change.  The grouping of industrial concerns into great combinations, the authoritarian fixing of wages and prices, the imposition of the habits of collective bargaining, were no doubt measures which would be justified by appeal to the necessities of war.  But they carried with them a weakening of the permanent flexibility of the system, whose effects it is difficult to over-estimate.  This was a dish of eggs not easy to unscramble.

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