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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 42

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funds, or employee settlements, issuance of stocks or shares in the enter-
prise, etc., etc. Another possibility of great social significance would
to apply increases of productivity to cause a lowering of prices. By such
a move all consumers and, therefore, the whole population would benefit.
"Whichever course one choses to follow - and there are many - one
fact remains: One cannot distribute any more than there is.; In discussing
our pie everybody sees this, but in discussing our modern economy with its
complicated aspects,' it becomes less clear; and yet the same principle
applies. Without increases in productivity one can only increase the signs
of value, but not the value per se. Reality cannot be done with by the
prettiest of dreams. This principle also holds for the latest demand: the
40-hour week. Obviously, this is a good and ideal demand and it -must be
acknowledged that such a work schedule does afford many employees the op-
portunity to devote additional time to their families and cultural events
under the condition that wages for a 40-hour week shall be the same as for
the 48-hour week. This, however, is only possible if a simultaneous and
corresponding increase in productivity occurs, i.e., 40 hours of work will
atleast have t5 result in the same amount of goods produced as 48 hours
previously. Many people consider such a move as a preliminary step to
achieve full employment. This would only be the case if all, necessary labor
and especially skilled labor were adequately available in the unemployment
reserves. But this is not the case - not even in Berlin. Even if one were
to disregard the need for prior increases of productivity, we still must
recognize that the additional skilled labor required is not available in
many instances, aside from the fact that plant facilities and additional
machinery, which hardly can meet the demand now, would first have to be
"For the present our Foal can only be: increase of _productivity
through -larger investments and throu h -improved rationalization; of work
processes, to be followed gradually by an improvement of the general standard
of living' through increase in the real income.
"Only such consideraItions are worthy of the term 'socio-economic
policies! '"
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