COÖPERATION IS NOT ENOUGH
ANY attempt to look at some of the economic problems confronting the Atlantic group of nations over the next ten or fifteen years must take into account the general change in the economic climate which has occurred in the last five years. The long postwar boom ended in the summer of 1957. Before that climacteric the Atlantic group had enjoyed a period of almost continuous prosperity. Demand was high; markets were good; prices were satisfactory; and production was at capacity. Businessmen projected the lines of their graphs upwards and on without a kink. Growth and progress seemed here to stay. Since 1957 it has been a different story. Spurts of prosperity have been succeeded by the languors of recession and stagnation, except among the Six; and even among them the rate of growth has been slowing down and they have begun to be plagued with many of the problems already affecting the rest of the group. It has been a time of growing uncertainties: about maintaining the volume of production, about the erosion of profits, about the status of the two great currencies which, with gold, constitute the media of international settlement. This accumulation of doubts about the future has found expression in the last few months in a major decline in prices in the stock exchanges of the Atlantic group. There is a widespread feeling that a new set of problems has come up which will be with us for a long time and with which we do not know how to deal.
These uncertainties and problems spring from one basic dilemma which affects the political and economic life of this group of nations. In itself it is not new; it existed between the wars but was submerged by the tides of war and then by the continuous prosperity of the postwar boom. During the last five years it has steadily reëmerged and now asserts itself with new force and urgency. The classical description occurs in
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