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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1944)

I anticipate that the unified world of postwar years will see the people of its premier industrial nation torn by a wild debate about economic organization. Unless economists change their natures, which is not likely, they will be found on both sides of the controversy, providing neat rationalizations for both contending parties, and refutations of both the opposing cases. Perhaps the confusion will be worse confounded by a third party that will urge a fascist form of organization under some name that smells less sour. If so, the third party also will produce economic rationalizations and a trainload of promises.

At present our public debt is increasing at the rate of about 5 billion dollars a month, and it is officially expect to reach 194 billion dollars by the end of June 1944. A full discussion of the public debt would have to include man distinctly different problems. This article is chiefly concerned with the position of the public debt in the financial structure. Although such a description of the capital and financial assets of an economy does not directly deal with those problems usually associated with theory of public spending, it may help to persuade economists, particularly those who speak in terms of a 2000 billion dollar instead of a 200 billion dollar debt, to reconsider what presence of such a public debt in the financial structure would mean to the stability of a free economy.

In Franz Oppenheimer the social sciences have lost a man in whom the great emancipators of the human mind in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries seemed to have risen again, in new and original incorporation. He shared their flaming belief in the strength of human reason to organize the world, and in liberty, in which alone a real order could bloom. He was a liberal of that old, heroic, revolutionary brand which has otherwise died out long ago.

The restoration of Hungary’s pre-1938 frontiers presents the line of least resistance, but this solution would not mean the establishment of order and a basis of cooperation in the Danubian basin, where two world wars started. Hungary would then be in the same position that she occupied after the Treaty of Trianon, with areas inhabited by a solid Magyar majority belonging to her neighbors. Every Hungarian government would try to recover these regions, and the whole country would stand behind this policy. Friendly relations between Hungary and her neighbors would not be possible, and she would constitute, as she did before, a stumbling block in the way of any efforts toward cooperation in the region. It may therefore be worthwhile to examine another solution, whereby territories inhabited by Magyars could be allotted to Hungary.

The whole question of the effects of the Reformation upon subsequent economic development, and particularly of the intimate relation held to subsist between Protestantism, especially in its Calvinistic forms, and the rise of modern capitalism, has evoked a great literature of controversy ever since the publication at the beginning of this century of Max Weber’s provocative essay on Protestantism. This continues to be the versatile German pundit’s best-known work, perhaps the more so because its intent was largely misunderstood. For over a quarter of a century it has occasioned much debate among social and economic historians on what has been termed the most interesting single question in the field of economic history.

In the following pages Social Research publishes a speech that Max Wertheimer delivered at a meeting of the Kantgesellschaft in Berlin in 1924. The spoken lecture was taken down in shorthand, as Wertheimer had no manuscript, and only a few notes. The lecture so impressed his audience that he was urged to publish it, and to this he consented, making only minor changes. As Wertheimer’s only programmatic statement on gestalt theory in general, this is a unique document. It throws light on the inner impulse and leading ideas in the research already done and still to be done in Gestalt psychology. It shows the attitude, spirit and passion of Max Wertheimer better than has been done in any other written word of his, and better than can be done in any article in his memory.

The schooling of most American children stops by the time they are fifteen. At that age they pass, if they are lucky enough to find jobs, from the leisure of childhood to the labor of adulthood. Their bodies and dispositions continue to increase in size without necessarily changing in quality. Whatever their chronological age, most are likely to retain the mental and emotional age of the adolescence at which they were deprived of education. Their work and their play are channeled by the neighborhood folkways and their personal habits. In the main, the events of their lives are recurrences like their morning coffee and the routine of their jobs. The routine inhibits intelligence, narrows and flattens experience, dulls sensibility and tends to keep the worker a type immature, fatigued, submissive, credulous, afraid of change and thought.

Review of book by Carlo Sforza. New York: Columbia University Press. 1942. 156 pp.

Review of book by Helmut Kuhn. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1943. 266 pp.

Review of book by R.M. MacIver. Boston: Ginn. 1942. 393 pp.

Review of book by James Westfall Thompson with the collaboration of Bernard J. Holm. New York: Macmillan. 1942. Vol. 1, 645 pp., index 30 pp.; Vol. 2, 647 pp.

Review of book by John Stuart Mill with Introductory essay by F.A. von Hayek. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1942. xxxiii & 94 pp.

Review of book by O. I. Janowsky. New York: Harper. 1943. xiv & 304 pp.

Review of book by Arthur Nussbaum. New York: Oxford University Press. 1943. xvi & 288 pp.

Review of book by M. J. Elsas. London: P. S. King & Staples. 1942. 67 pp., bibliography 2 pp.

Review of book by Theodore Brauer et al. St. Louis: B. Herder. 1943. x & 311 pp., index 10 pp.

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