Four prominent economists last night
The first speaker in the HRLU forum, Herbert Stein, research director of the
Seymour E. Harris '20, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, upheld the importance of increasing economic growth. Because growth rates add up like compound interest, he said, a four per cent annual increase results in a 141 per cent rise in twenty years, while a two per cent growth brings only a 50 per cent increase in the same period.
Describing himself as "a strong partisan," Harris declared that the Administration's monetary and social programs have brought the country "very close to a recession."
In defense of the GOP, Dan T. Smith, professor of Finance and a leading Republican advisor, contended that "we need an investment climate conducive to growth in the private sector." He maintained that government hostile to business and unwilling to stop inflation does not produce such a climate.
"The problem of economic growth properly defined, is the greatest problem we face as a nation," Leon H. Keyserling, former chairman of President Truman's Council of Economic Advisors, suggested. The nation's slow rate of growth since the Korean conflict, he said, has resulted in steadily increasing unemployment, a constant level of "private poverty," and neglect of public services.
Lashing out at economists who "stand and clash on the basis of particular interests," Keyserling urged his colleagues to "either stop talking about the trying times and the need for action," or use their skills to set up a plan to enrich the poor, provide decent medical care and housing, and distribute surpluses to other countries. "There is no doubt that it can be done," he said.