- Dismal Science or Genial Art?
- A Look at the National Plant
- Keeping the Plant Running Steadily
- Can the Plant Make More Goods?
- Can the Plant Produce What We Really Want?
- The Plant Inside out
- What About the Farmer?
- Some Specially Sore Spots
- A Word about International Trade
- Instruments of Control
- Halfway to Utopia?
About the book:
Lack of agreement upon a common economic objective has, especially since the War, been a major obstacle to the formation of a real liberal party in the United States. For a liberal party, to be successful, must necessarily number among its adherents many who, at present, possess only a desultory training in economics.
Mr. Soule, although he has not consciously sought to do so, has set forth in outline an analysis of and a series of proposals relative to our national economy with the essentials of which liberal thinkers will agree. Mr. Soule is “concerned merely with the tools man may use to master the economic jungle” and “with establishing an understanding of the need for such tools and the possibility of devising them.” He is severe with the popularizers who, knowing neither economics nor economists, drag in the “superficial misconception” known as “economic law” to support an obviously sick status quo.
He demonstrates that an economist can write of economic problems without automatically vaccinating the reader against moral indignation and effective action as do so many of the current textbooks. He makes of economics both a science and an interesting and salutary art. The book is well planned. In the second chapter the reader has “A Look at The National Plant.” In the three following chapters he learns under what conditions the plant can be kept running steadily, whether the plant can make more goods, and if so, the goods we really want. Having made it apparent in general that the “unseen hand” does not guide efficiently the author directs attention to those “specially sore spots” in the national plant, agriculture, housing, the textile and soft coal industries, wherein the policy of laissez faire has failed most conspicuously. In the two final chapters the author treats of existing and potential instruments for the social control of business and analyzes the seeds of Utopianism implicit in the existing economic system.
– review from Spengler Social Forces, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Mar., 1930), pp. 474-475