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World Finance and Economic Stability

Selected Essays of James Tobin

James Tobin

Nobel Prize winner James Tobin has made outstanding contributions to modern macroeconomics. In this final collection of his work he examines the economic policies of the United States and its relations with other major economies after 1990. In James Tobin’s view, the welfare of populations depends uniquely on these policies and it is important to be aware of their impact.
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Chapter 15: 1960: campaign memo on economic growth and Growth Through Taxation

James Tobin


15. 1960: campaign memo on economic growth and ‘Growth Through Taxation’* MEMO ON ECONOMIC GROWTH The Need for Faster Economic Growth Rapid economic growth is the paramount goal of the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America who have yet to participate in the bounty of modern technology. Most of these nations are committed in the struggle between freedom and communism. The political and social forms that these nations assume as their economies develop may determine the fate of * Chapter 15 is a paper written in 1960. Only a condensed version of it was published at that time, in The New Republic under the title ‘Growth through Taxation’, later republished in 1966 in my collection of essays ‘National Economic Policy’. Here it is appended to the full paper, now published for the first time. Let me explain the origins of this paper and the reasons for including it in this book. The paper was written for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. The candidate and his political advisers suspected that the weakness of the national economy, at the time in its second recession of the Eisenhower years, was a promising issue. They were encouraged in this view by their Massachusetts economic advisers, notably J.K. Galbraith and Paul Samuelson. The group felt they needed a background paper on economic growth and policies to encourage it, and on the economists’ recommendation Ted Sorenson came to my office at Yale to hire me to do this paper. The ‘growth’ at issue was increase...

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