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50 Years Ago: Cripps On Crises

The post-war scarcity of many raw materials and manufactures and has been so far made good that the long rise of prices has stopped and some big falls have already taken place. At this point let us turn to Sir Stafford Cripps who, on his visit to Italy, told the Romans what he thinks about it all. "Movements of inflation and deflation were to a considerable extent psychological and could be greatly accelerated by a panic psychology encouraged by a lack of knowledge of the economic facts. It is often said, quite truly, that a country can talk itself into a depression, and it almost looks as if there were a danger of this in come countries today." (Manchester Guardian, 4/5/49.)

The theory of the cause of depression is not a new one, and a little examination will show that it is not at all convincing. If, as Cripps maintains, a depression is a thing into which a country can talk itself, it is equally reasonable to suppose that a country can just as easily talk itself out again. Why then did not the Labour Government of 1931 talk itself and the country out of that crisis? Why does the President of the Board of Trade go off post-haste to Canada to drum up business for British exporters? And why are the British workers again being urged to forego wage increases and concentrate on more and cheaper production?

(From Socialist Standard, June 1949)