Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sumner Slichter and Emil Lederer: Central Visions Compared*

Katselidis, Ioannis and Vouldis, Angelos and Michaelides, Panayotis G. (2010): Sumner Slichter and Emil Lederer: Central Visions Compared*.

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umner Slichter was “perhaps the most influential industrial economist in America”, while Emil Lederer was “the leading academic socialist of Germany in the 1920’s”. However, most aspects of their works remain unexplored. This paper analyzes Lederer’s and Slichter’s central theses. Given the presence of main elements of both economists’ visions in the famous Debate on Technological Unemployment which took place in the U.S.A. (1928-1933), it is surprising that so little attention has been paid to their works. After a careful examination of their writings, their theoretical investigations in a great number of thematic areas seem to converge. Analytically, both economists, attempted to explain the apparent inability of the economic system to readjust and absorb the unemployed workers. Also, both economists disputed the assertion of Say’s law that full equilibrium would be assured by the functioning of market forces. They both emphasised on the role of technical change. Another interesting aspect of both economists’ investigations is their respective theoretical shift around 1930 which could be related to the disastrous consequences of the Great Depression. The paper concludes that, despite some obvious differences between Lederer and Slichter, the parallels are undeniable.

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