top of page

NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1934)

What is striving for expression in the collective mind of the continental scholars abroad is not the kind of thinking to which they were formerly devoted, but a new kind of thinking. And there can be little doubt that when the integration of form and material has been completely effected new and potent forces will have been set in operation in the intellectual world. Social Research is an early sign of this coming intellectual movement. The methods employed are obviously continental, the material is of the world at large. And this defines the general character of the magazine. Its contributors will be drawn for the most part, but not exclusively, from among the continental scholars abroad, both at the New School and in other institutions of America and Europe. The subject matter will be drawn from interests that transcend the boundaries of a single country.

In the following section I shall take up the fundamental questions of growth in a capitalist economy or of an economic revival after a crisis, of a transition to a new period of intense activity. It is always important to know when in the course of a business cycle contraction ceases, i.e. when a crisis turns into a depression, and what the connecting links are to a new period of upward movement, increasing employment, rising prices and higher profits.

All economy is concerned with scarcity, or the inadequacy of the returns of nature and labor for satisfying human needs. Not all needs and desires which might be felt or imagined can be satisfied. We must adapt ourselves to the scarcity of returns. This is called economizing.

Depressions and the panics which represent depression in its most acute form have been known in scientific literature for more than two hundred years. In the modern development of economic research, the problem of disturbances in the upward trend of economic activity has been the subject of intensive study so that we possess today a remarkable accumulation of information on the business cycle, and especially on depressions.

Without sufficient differentiation between inflation and devaluation, such measures have since increasingly and with extraordinary propagandist power been urged as remedies for the crisis, as means of repairing economic and social damage, in any case, as means of economic policy to be utilized consciously by the government. This the new development which forms the subject of the present paper.

The failure of the plan was attributed mainly to political causes. We find scarcely any economic criticism of it. The actions of the Papen government were distrusted both by the National Socialists and by the workers. But the entrepreneurs generally accepted the plan with enthusiasm.

Unemployment is not a new phenomenon... But the great difference between the pre-war period and the post-war period consists in the change in extent and duration of unemployment and the blocking up of every way out.

The salaried employees are the youngest stratum in the working classes and in capitalist society. Their marked and rapid growth has changed the structure of modern society considerably and has disturbed the sociological bases of political theories.

bottom of page