Size and Viability: The Lesson of Austria
There is hardly any country in the world where the problem of size and its economic significance has met with such widespread interest as in Austria between the two wars. This was not due to a particular smallness of the country. With its (at present) 7 million inhabitants it is far from standing at the end of the queue when the nations are lined up by size.1 Nor can it be said that Austria is particularly poorly endowed by nature. With timber and iron ore, with sufficient water for extensive hydro-electric projects, and with a variety of other resources and of human skills, Austria does not compare badly even with a well-to-do country like Switzerland, and certainly comes off far better than many other small countries where the question of ‘economic viability’ has never been raised.
KeywordsSmall Country Austrian Economy Export Volume Dynamic Adjustment Habsburg Monarchy
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- 2.S. Schilder, Der Streit um die Lebensfähigkeit Österreichs (Stuttgart, 1926).Google Scholar
- 4.A. Basch and J. Dvoracek, Austria and its Economic Existence (Prague, 1925), p. 9. Italics in the original.Google Scholar
- 1.See Colin Clark, The Conditions of Economic Progress (3rd edition, London, 1957), particularly Ch. IX.Google Scholar
- 1.It is, of course, not difficult to make such a statement after the event. In fact, the present writer expressed the same opinion ten years ago. See K. W. Rothschild, Austria’s Economic Development between the Two Wars (London, 1947), Ch. VII. For a different view see, for instance, Hans Bayer, Die Zukunft der österreichischen Volkswirtschaft (Innsbruck, 1947): ‘If one compares the situation in 1918 and 1945 one cannot but come to the conclusion that today the starting position for the Austrian economy is less favourable and certainly not better than thirty years ago’ (p. 13). In the same pamphlet, however, Professor Bayer expressed the opinion that Austria could enter a more prosperous era if the economic mistakes of the past were avoided.Google Scholar
- 2.For the same reason the Western German growth rates of that period were considerably higher than the Austrian ones. Compared with 1938 the indices of industrial production for Austria, Western Germany, and OEEC-Europe stood in 1948 at 92, 52, and 101 respectively; the indices of export volume at 54, 19, and 79. About the reasons for high rates of growth in badly damaged industrial economies, see A. Sauvy, ‘Développement économique et répartition professionnelle de la population’, Revue d’Économie Politique (May-June 1956), pp. 372 ff.Google Scholar
- 2.See the interesting remarks by S. Moos, ‘The Scope of Automation’, Economic Journal, March 1957, particularly pp. 27–30.Google Scholar