In the Graduate Schools

Professor Points Out That Congress' Inertia Throws Future Into Chaos

The following article was written for the Crimson by G. F. Doriot, professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration.

From the point of view of manufacturing activity in the country the present tariff situation is decidedly deplorable. There is nothing worse for the manufacturer than indecision on anything which might have to do with his cost of production. This is particularly true with reference to long time commitments on raw materials. Many businesses are greatly affected by even small changes in the tariff. As a matter of fact, further than that, certain companies can be absolutely disrupted because of a change in tariff.

On tariff questions it is always very hard to discriminate between social welfare and the welfare of certain industries or certain parts of the community.

The standpoint of President Hoover is entirely correct and it is surprising to realize that the Senate cannot see the unpleasant effect of the present uncertainty that many companies find themselves thrown into because of the delay in passing the Tariff Bill. Whatever is done on tariff is bound to hurt certain interests. It would be better indeed to decide once for all on a certain tariff, notwithstanding how inaccurate it might be, and to stick to it for at least a specified period of time.

At the present time, the tariff fight in the country resolves itself into a strong desire for complete prohibition of imports, lessened to some degree by the statements made by many that such a policy would increase the cost of manufacturing goods. This policy of high tariff is probably quite good as long as we are independent of foreign countries for purchase of some of our goods. Bearing in mind the present international relations and the strong desire for everlasting peace, it would seem logical to expect that a little more reason could be applied in the determination of tariff policies throughout the world.

But anyway it can be again stated that any tariff policy as long as it is well stated and defined is better than no policy, and constant uncertainty.