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The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School

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Middle-of-the-Road Policy
Leads to Socialism


9. Foreign Exchange Control

The foremost vehicle for the realization of this second type of socialism in industrial countries like Germany and Great Britain is foreign exchange control. These countries cannot feed and clothe their people out of domestic resources. They must import large quantities of food and raw materials. In order to pay for these badly needed imports, they must export manufactures, most of them produced out of imported raw material. In such countries almost every business transaction directly or indirectly is conditioned either by exporting or importing or by both exporting and importing. Hence the government's monopoly of buying and selling foreign exchange makes every kind of business activity depend on the discretion of the agency entrusted with foreign exchange control. In this country matters are different. The volume of foreign trade is rather small when compared with the total volume of the nation's trade. Foreign exchange control would only slightly affect the much greater part of American business. This is the reason why in the schemes of our planners there is hardly any question of foreign exchange control. Their pursuits are directed toward the control of prices, wages, and interest rates, toward the control of investment and the limitation of profits and incomes.

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