Roosevelt and Churchill aboard HMS Prince of Wales.
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The Economic Tasks of the Postwar World [Excerpt]

. . . There are still a good many people deeply concerned with problems of ­international security who think exclusively in terms of political arrangements and economic mechanisms such as tariffs and currencies. We would call that the passive approach. The arrangements and mechanisms which they favor are important, and appropriate means must be found to give them effect. But many economists are coming to think that action along these traditional lines would by itself be wholly inadequate. It is increasingly understood that the essential foundation upon which the international security of the future must be built is an economic order so managed and controlled that it will be capable of sustaining full employment and developing a rising standard of living as rapidly as technical progress and world productivity will permit. The very survival of our present institutions, including political democracy and private enterprise, depends upon our taking a bolder attitude toward public developmental projects in terms both of human and physical resources, and both in our own country and throughout the world.

Many questions at once arise. What will be the rôle of government in postwar economic life? Will business enterprise outside of government be organized predominantly along cartel lines, with increasing restraints on competition? Will international trade be based on principles of non-discrimination or will each country make the best bargains it can obtain on a bilateral and separate basis with each of its trading partners? Will the world break up into autarchic countries, pairs of countries, or regions, including empires, continents and hemispheres? Or will each country tend to specialize in the production of those particular commodities which it can produce most efficiently and trade on the widest possible basis?

These questions are practical ones, and like most practical questions it is impossible to answer them categorically either as a forecast of the future or as a guide to desirable policy under the unforeseeable conditions of the future. It can merely be said that in time of war governments must [Full article]

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