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United States. Office of the US High Commissioner for Germany. Information Services Division / RIAS, Berlin

Economics commentary by Dr. Anton Schoepke,   pp. 39-42 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 39

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SampleCCommentary (October 2y, 1952) by Dr. Anton Schoepke. director of
the Borsig Works at Berlin-Tegel who delivers a weekly "Current Economics
Report" over RIAS.
"There are two approaches to the socio-economic situation: on the
one hand, striving for a balance between the highest possible gross
national product and economic possibilities and requirements; on the other
hand, placing a social dream picture before a reality and then demanding
that reality conform with the dream picture. It need not be said that the
first approach, in the province of the economist, can be most unpopular,
whereas the second approach will find approval much easier. In this con-
nection it should not be disregarded that the concept of a dream- picture
actually often does influence economic reality up to a certain degree
and moreover awakens fertile and positive thoughts and forces. However, it
depends on the degree..
"It is an old truism that the whole science of economics is a
function of scarcity. Where there is no scarcity there is no need for ap-
plying economics. Air is no item for economics principles and water only
to a limited degree - in areas where there is no shortage of water - with
regard to water transport, sewage, etc., while in desert areas water is
an item which does call for the application of economic principles. Scar-
city means that there is an upper limit to sharing of the goods of this
earth. The possibilities can only be enlarged by increasing the produc-
tion of the scarce goods. If this does not happen, an increased share in
the material goods can only be brought about at the expense of other in-
dividuals or groups. This sober statement also limits all socio-economic
possibilities. A larger share in the "social product' can only be achieved
in an economy by increasing the gross national product or' by changing its
distribution. Obviously a combination of both will accomplish the same.
To use an old example: if slmebody cuts a larger slice of a pie than
originally provided, the other pie eaters will have to do with smaller
slices. However, if a larger pie is baked all consumers will be able to
eat mote. On the other hand nothing is gained if I should choose to re-
name /6 of the pie and call it 2/12. This portion does sound more im-
pressive but in accordance with basic arithmetic 1/6 is equal to 2/12 and
4/24 etc., etc.
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