The Future of the International Economy
Those who tell us that we should beware of grand historical generalizations about the direction of human history have a legitimate point. But most of us, in thinking about the future, do use some general notions about long-term trends, and there is no reason why we should be ashamed of them. To be sure, we may be sometimes proved wrong. Many of us, myself included, were overoptimistic in assuming that the post-Keynesian world was a genuinely new kind of world and that the steady growth and trade expansion which characterized the Western economies in the decades up to 1973 could continue indefinitely. We have learned sober lessons in the last few years. But we should not, for that reason, abandon all belief in long-term trends—at least as a heuristic device, as a way of sketching probabilities, as a foundation on top of which a variety of contingent scenarios can be built. But we should never forget that we are talking about probabilities and contingencies—never forgetting among the contingencies the possibility of a nuclear war stopping once and for all the one underlying trend which provides the motor force for all the other trends which can make any claim to uni-directionally—I mean the accumulation of scientific knowledge. For it is that cumulative growth of science and of man’s technological capacity which certainly underlies all the trend assumptions that I would wish to make.
KeywordsCentral Bank Fair Trade Reserve Currency International Currency Trade Surplus
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