Capitalism the Creator: The economic foundations of modern by Carl Snyder

By Carl Snyder

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10 2. Is there any evidence that the rate of increase in the total product, per capita in the United States, has been more rapid dur- THE MAINSPRINGS OF CIVILIZATION 27 ing the last twenty-five years than during the preceding half century? There is no evidence of any material change in this respect. Measurements show that up to 1930 growth in per capita output over the past hundred years, measured in five- or ten-year periods, has been but slightly decrescent. Even the annual fluctuations in trade that come with booms and depressions do not materially affect the long term rate of growth.

Take two or three questions where popular belief runs quite opposite to the available evidence as shown by numerous measurements extending over a long period of time. 1. Does the velocity of circulation, say, of money or of bank deposits, ordinarily affect the price level? The answer is that it does not. W e can now measure both the velocity of demand deposits and variations in trade with considerable precision. The variations in velocity—that is, the rate of turnover of demand deposits—and the variations in the volume of trade, as measured in percentages of their norms, run remarkably close together.

It will be seen that the total of metal mined and smelted has increased almost a hundred times within a space of ioo years—a truly astonishing fact! The large part of this increase is from the progress in iron and steel, with the progress in copper an important third. In the United States, steel production has grown to some fifty times that even of 1879. In the eighty years since the development of the Bessemer process, the total steel product has been far greater than in the previous six or eight thousand years since steel began to be made.

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