ANDREW SHONFIELD PDF

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. Sir Andrew Shonfield, the British economist, writer and editor, died on Friday in London, his friends have reported. He was 63 years old and had homes in London and Florence, where he was a professor of economics at the European University Institute. The book dealt with the relationship between government and business and with the workings of modern industrial economies. At the time of his death he was working on a sequel.

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Oxford University Press. Andrew Shonfield has taken a long, close look at postwar capitalism in the developed West and concluded that it has achieved a dazzling success. It has confounded the prophets of disaster, both socialists on the Left and classical liberals on the Right. It has not only avoided the cyclical traumas of the past but has built a network of movable defenses against even brief reductions in total output.

It has generated a growing conviction that production and incomes can rise on an ever-ascending, if uneven, curve, and this very expectation has tended to become self-realizing. To reach this happy state, modern capitalism has thrown off much of its earlier intellectual and institutional baggage. Atomized competitive markets have been replaced by large centers of public and private economic power.

These have tamed the violence of competitive swings, provided a measure of coherent decision-making and generally taken a longer view of right conduct.

The state has become a guarantor of a level of effective demand high enough to provide full and even over-full employment. A growing measure of welfare services protects those at the bottom; an unprecedented degree of self-confidence marks the decision-makers at the top. Perhaps the most notable among them is the political problem of the growing attenuation of popular control over the great economic institutions.

But at least an ever-rising standard of material well-being is now virtually assured throughout the rich West. In fact, however, he is a remarkably sophisticated observer and the postwar performance generally supports the central lines of his argument.

His most conspicuous failures are sins of omission: he glosses over or dismisses with footnotes some of the less agreeable features of the economic landscape. While the evidence is not entirely clear, there does appear to be an increasing concentration of wealth and income in the United States, France, Italy, and Britain.

This need not interfere with rising global outputs, and may not even disturb the social fabric unduly, since consumers satisfy wants with absolute, not relative, incomes. But it does suggest that there are a few rocks in the garden. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the new managers, public and private, will use their instruments of control with the requisite degree of skill.

President de Gaulle, for example, is hell-bent on decreasing world liquidity to promote some non-economic ends of his own; Prime Minister Wilson sacrificed an extraordinary measure of political and economic freedom to spare Labour from being labeled the party of devaluation; and Messrs.

Anderson, Stans, and Saulnier successfully imposed a decline in production despite the lessons learned by their predecessors in the Eisenhower administration.

Finally, for all their genuine success, no Western nation has yet developed institutions that combine economic growth at high employment with stable prices. Nevertheless, after saying all this, it must also be said that in the main Shonfield appears to be right. His argument is strengthened by an extraordinary wealth of relevant detail. Apart from his fine eye for the significant, he has a sound ear that distinguishes important undertones in public rhetoric.

He appreciates, for example, the cosy arrangement under which each German steel producer specializes in a particular group of products. The German economy is shot through with such industrial collaboration, nurtured by a few major banks and supported by federal subsidies and tax favors. Shonfield is just as perceptive elsewhere.

Thus, he seizes unerringly on the decisive role of Mr. Above all, he presses the importance of national indicative plans beyond their established worth. The practitioners of this new art, particularly in France, are skillful and persuasive advocates, whose compelling logic may mislead outsiders. First-hand experience can be chastening.

My own suggests that the planners understandably tend to overestimate their importance. They are turning away from highly coherent, detailed targets and toward much more provisional, broader indicators. The planning experiment is far from complete. It may even be that the cruder American approach, relying essentially on fiscal and monetary policy with specific interventions to deal with particular problems, will turn out to be a better model for the West.

The trial-and-error technique of large corporations, even those guided by internally developed long-range plans, may create a more fruitful setting for the technological inventiveness on which expanding outputs largely depend. But here again, Shonfield is wise and undogmatic.

He carefully relates the array of instruments in each country to its own past and warns that no one can borrow wholesale from his neighbors. A key argument for indicative planning holds that it can solve the nagging problem of price stability. Involve industrial managers and union leaders in the process, the argument goes, and you improve chances for wage and price restraint. Shonfield has grasped this point too.

The trouble with all incomes policies so far is that they imply the maintenance of the present division of the income pie. This problem, in turn, is linked to the crucial political question that Shonfield poses: how can concentrated economic decision-making be made responsive to the broader constituency it nominally serves?

He seems to think that the French have an answer in the debate that the National Assembly stages over the plan. But no real choice is presented to the Assembly, itself a virtually impotent organ under the Fifth Republic. Moreover, France merely caricatures a state of affairs that is present everywhere in the West, the fading strength of elected parliaments. In a tentative and unsystematic way, something like this has already been taking place in the United States.

Whether or not it improves the quality of decisions or provides a greater measure of public choice, however, is not yet clear. He combines the skillful reporting of a first-class journalist with the technical competence of a first-class economist.

Indeed, he has played both parts, first as economic editor of the Observer and now as Director of Studies at the Royal Institute of International affairs.

If some of his answers are obviously debatable, Shonfield has clearly raised many of the right questions—and that is no mean achievement.

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Andrew N. Schofield

Oxford University Press. Andrew Shonfield has taken a long, close look at postwar capitalism in the developed West and concluded that it has achieved a dazzling success. It has confounded the prophets of disaster, both socialists on the Left and classical liberals on the Right. It has not only avoided the cyclical traumas of the past but has built a network of movable defenses against even brief reductions in total output.

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