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Question about late 19th Century "surplus".

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Tyler Rouillard posted on Thu, Jun 18 2009 1:19 PM

I am currently doing a dissertation on American foreign policy and at the moment I am reading William Appleman Williams The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. In it, he says that US expansionist policies gained support from industrialists and farmers in an effort to "open" and/or "find" foreign markets for their supposed surplus. My questions are as followed:

Can anyone familiar with this economic time period speak to the surplus issue? Did it truly exist? Why did it exist? Was the hand of government involved?

If it did exist, am I correct to assume that in a free market, consistently having a surplus is a market indicator of some sort (I am not an economist, so I am not entirely sure what it is an indicator of, to slow down production? Reinvest in the business? Find new ventures?)

I am really interested to hear the Classical Liberal interpretation of this, since policy makers at the time were afraid of unemployment, recessions etc, they saw expansion as the only solution. It still haunts the US to this day, that security and prosperity at home cannot be achieved without an interventionist foreign policy etc.


Thanks for your help.


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Top 10 Contributor
7,105 Posts
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its probably not possible to offer a rational explanation for the use of terms and logical arguments of people who are confused in their use of terms and who lack logical arguments... in other words , dont get your hopes up  Stick out tongue

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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