The Transition Period

  • Jan Toporowski
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


Kalecki’s last article for the Bulletin of the Oxford Institute of Statistics was published on 4 December 1944, and was on ‘Employment in the United Kingdom during and after the Transition Period.’ The ‘transition’ in its title was the one from war to peace, a period marked on previous occasions, after the Napoleonic Wars, or the First World War, by sharp falls in production and increases in unemployment. The Beveridge Report had been followed in May 1944 by a White Paper (an official statement to inform Parliament of government policy) on employment policy. The paper had identified as key policy objectives in the transition period avoiding inflation, which would be done by maintaining war-time controls and rationing until supply improved; the prevention by controls on industrial location of the emergence of depressed areas of high unemployment; while the outflow of labour from the armed forces and support services would be offered retraining with pay set above the benefits paid to the unemployed. The White Paper also laid down the principles of the counter-cyclical policy to maintain high levels of output and employment in peace-time. In the pages of the Bulletin of the Oxford Institute, Kalecki had hailed the White Paper: ‘For the first time an official document acknowledges the responsibility of the Government for preventing large fluctuations in output and employment. This represents a great advance upon the creed that slumps are natural and even salutary, but it does not amount to a complete programme for full employment.’

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Toporowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Economics DepartmentSOAS University of LondonLondonUK

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