By Carl Snyder
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Extra info for Capitalism the Creator: The economic foundations of modern industrial society
As yet, perhaps, no adequate proof. But at least one sure fact: the boom is an ineluctable antecedent of the depression. There have been scores of other factors adduced, mostly I believe imaginary, and the rest difficult to measure, or to prove. But here is no difficulty either of measurement or proof. And we may go much further and understand clearly the rationale. A great American, Simon Newcomb, one of our outstanding scientists and perhaps our most original writer on economics, laid the foundations of the explanation more than half a century ago.
15 Simon Newcomb never attempted a statistical verification of these relationships. 17 But data for the necessary measurements were then lacking, and in particular gave no clue to the effect of a definite, slowly changing, long time rate of growth in the volume of trade. Fisher, and others who followed after, continued to treat the factor of velocity as generally an independent variable, and not as concomitant to the variations in the volume of trade, measured from its normal rate of growth. Even when the interrelationship of the variations in velocity and the variations in trade were known, it was still necessary to devise a broader and more adequate index of prices.
But it is steadily coming to be recognized that all life processes are simply a complicated form of chemism, that differ from any other kind of chemical reaction in no way, save in the mysterious association of certain combinations of the "organic" substances with feeling and consciousness. The idea that there is any impassable dividing line between the organic and the inorganic belongs to a generation that is gone. THE MAINSPRINGS OF CIVILIZATION 19 A potent survival of the old animistic modes of thought still gives wide prevalence to the belief that the forces in our everyday life of getting and spending are 'human' forces; therefore, amenable to human control, and readily altered merely by an edict or the passage of a law.