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the automobile. The progress up until 1930 seems to have been marvelously gradual. I was very surprised; I had the same opinion you had, that we had gone ahead in fits and starts; but, up to 1930, we seemed to go very gradually at about 3 percent.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Can you name any 30-year period in the history of the Nation when our industrial prosperity exceeded that made bė. tween 1900 and 1930, whether by fits and starts, gradually, or “what have you”?
Mr. CROWTHER. The measurements-you see, we have a difference between our emotion and our measurements. Mr. Snyder's curveMr. Snyder's measurement is about the best. It is the most thorough. That does not seem to recognize any great change in our development since the Civil War, up to 1930. There has been a decline since then.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, will you admit we were going up hill and in 1930 we began to go downhill? Can we agree on that—if we were going up hill or downhill?
Mr. CROWTHER. The rate of progress up to 1930 was about 3 percent; that rate of progress has not been maintained since 1930.
Mr. ROBERTSON. I do not ask about anything since 1930; I am going to see if we can agree on one fundamental fact, because we cannot make any progress unless we can agree on something fundamental. And I was under the impression that our railroads expanded, our steel mills expanded, that we developed our great automobile industry, that we put in more telephones, more radios, more bathtubs, more washing machines, more everything, in this country between 1900 and 1930 than we had ever done in any 30 years of our history. If you challenge that, tell me why you challenge it.
Mr. CROWTHER. I do not challenge that. I say I do not know, because you are dealing with emotions. I am dealing with only the recorded facts, and the recorded facts do not go beyond the Civil War.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, you, of course, by your appearance here last year, know that when I ask one question I am leading up to another.
Mr. CROWTHER. I beg pardon?
Mr. ROBERTSON. I say you, of course, learned from your appearance here 3 years ago, that when I ask one question I am leading up to another, and we do not get up to the other question until we reach some satisfactory understanding about the first question.
Your answers to the first question are substantially this, that you will not agree that we had any great expansion between 1900 and 1930, but we did have a progressive expansion, a movement upward, and not downward ?
Mr. CROWTHER. I will say that my agreement or disagreement would be of no consequence. I say that the recorded facts are just as I stated. Now, whether I would state otherwise would not be of the slightest consequence.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Now, Mr. Crowther, you are coming before us today as an economist and not as a man of letters, and I am asking you about figures, and not about emotions.
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes.
Mr. ROBERTSON. And cannot you give me some little more definite answer to my question?
Mr. CROWTHER. I have told you the only figures which exist.
Mr. CROWTHER. Mr. Snyder's curve developing the figures on the evidence, shows a steady progression at a rate of 3 percent. That is compounded. Now that gets to be more each time-since the close of the Civil War.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, we will agree on that state of progression? Mr. CROWTHER. Yes.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Between 1900 and 1930. Now, I hand you a chart that was prepared by the United States Tariff Commission on the basis of charts published by the United States Department of Commerce that shows our foreign trade from 1891 to 1942, and I ask you if it is not a fact that chart shows that from 1900 to 1930 our foreign trade steadily rose?
Mr. CROWTHER. This is a chart of the price index, not of foreign trade-perfectly worthless.
Mr. ROBERTSON. It is worthless, you say?
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, whether it is worthless or not, I ask permission to insert it in the record.
Mr. COOPER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The chart above referred to is on p. 404.)
Mr. ROBERTSON. I contend that the chart shows our foreign trade, during that period, constantly rose. Now I want to ask you what is the supporting data for the statement you make on page 4 of your prepared statement, to this effect:
It is recognized that a naturally shrinking volume of international trade is an evidence of progress and that any artificial arrangement to promote international trade involves a kind of world sovereignty which decrees what and how much each nation shall make or grow.
Now, you have said that when our trade shrinks it is an evidence of progress and when our trade grows it is an evidence of something else—I do not know exactly what you mean—but it must be the opposite of progress. So I guess you mean regression-slipping back.
Now, how do you justify that statement, in view of the fact that everybody knows we had industrial and commercial progress between 1900 and 1930 and everybody knows that during that period our foreign trade grew? How can you say that a shrinking volume of foreign trade
Mr. CROWTHER. What was the point? You said our foreign trade grew; now, are you speaking of quantities or dollars?
Mr. ROBERTSON. I said our foreign trade grew between 1900 and 1930 and at the time our foreign trade grew we had a steady climb in progress, and at times a spurt under the influence of automobiles and things. Now, you tell us that a shrinking volume of trade is an evidence of progress. I ask you what is your justification for that statement ?
Mr. CROWTHER. The emphasis is on the word "natural," and I am very glad you ask that question, because it really goes to the meat of this thing.
Let us start with the concept that it is the business of a nation primarily to provide for its own. If a nation can economically make at home what it previously imported, it has that much more prosperity at home. Now, take a specific case; take our steel industry, for instance. Up until about the time of the Civil War, we could not look
after needs. The steel industry grew up under a tariff; it became an enormous industry employing, I have forgotten—I think before the war the figures were five hundred or six hundred thousand men. That cut into the foreign steel trade; that cut down the number of steel products in international trade, as between this country and the world.
As Germany built up its steel industry, and Italy built up its, and India, Australia, and these other countries built up their own industries, they subtracted from the volume of international trade. Now, the only way to restore that volume is to prevent those people from manufacturing
Mr. ROBERTSON. Let us take your theory that emphasis must be placed on the word "natural.”
Mr. CROWTHER. Yes.
Mr. ROBERTSON. In the year following the passage of the HawleySmoot tariff our foreign trade shrunk from about $10,000,000,000 to less than $3,000,000,000. Was that shrinkage natural or unnatural!
Mr. CROWTHER. That was a most unnatural shrinkage. The trade did not shrink nearly as much as your dollar figures would indicate. You may recall that in 1932 we exported the largest quantity of cotton in our history. The actual drop in foreign trade during that period I cannot give you the figures—in quantity was nothing like the drop in prices. What you are talking about is world price dislocation, which I trace completely to England going off the gold standard in 1931.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Then the fact that in the first year after the passage of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act some thirty-odd nations adopted retaliatory tariff measures against us, increased their tariffs, imposing quotas, embargoes, and some even resorting to currency manipulation, had nothing whatever to do as a natural cause in the shrinkage of our foreign commerce?
Mr. CROWTHER. Absolutely nothing. Practically all those measures taken by foreign nations were not trade measures or tariff measures. There has been a peculiar philosophy built up here by the assertion that the Hawley-Smoot tariff had a terrific influence. You will find those were currency protections and, if you want to go into what happened with currency during that period, I will. But the notion of holding up the Hawley-Smoot tariff as something that killed the thirties, has no foundation. It is like the thousand economists storythey have stopped quoting that now. The thousand economists go ahead
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, I have not stopped quoting what happened in Canada. After we passed the Hawley-Smoot tariff, they increased their duties on everything they bought from us, which was over a thousand items, and we negotiated a trade agreement with Canada in which they reduced their import duties on 900 items from us, and immediately our exports to Canada were stepped up. How do you account for that?
Mr. CROWTHER. Before that, even, let me go back and lay the premise. Let me admit, for the sake of argument, that the HawleySmoot tariff was all you say it is. Is that the foundation of your premise that the making of tariffs must be taken from Congress? That is what you are saying.
Mr. ROBERTSON. We are going to come to that later; but I am just trying to see if we can agree on certain facts.
Mr. CROWTHER. Well, let us be sure they are facts. Merely having you and I agree on them, although I think it would be evidence, would not make them facts.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Well, I have given you the facts with respect to our trade.
Mr. CROWTHER. You are making assertions, sir; you are not giving facts, you are making assertions.
Mr. ROBERTSON. If I am not giving them, you challenge them and say what are the facts.
Mr. CROWTHER. Yon are saying because this man down here had red hair, his great-grandfather had white hair.
Mr. ROBERTSON. As an economist, you ought to know.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Is it a fact in the trade agreements with Canada the duties on some 900 items were reduced, or is it that somebody's grandmother had gray hair?
Mr. CROWTHER. I do not remember as of record.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Is it a fact after those duties on our exports were reduced, our trade with Canada immediately increased; is that a fact or not?
Mr. CROWTHER. I would have to see whether it increased in quantum or in price.
Mr. ROBERTSON. All right. Let us take up the question of theory that you mentioned. Since you are a man of letters, I am sure that you are familiar with Robert Browning's Andrea del Sarto.
Mr. CROWTHER. I am not a man of letters, and I am most emphatically not cultured. I disclaim all culture.
Mr. ROBERTSON. You are familiar with that little poem, are you not? Mr. CROWTHER. Not in the least, no.
Mr. ROBERTSON. It is a very beautiful poem, and I commend it to you because in that poem Robert Browning, in beautiful language, describes the essential differences between Andrea del Sarto, the perfect technician, and Raphael, who got the assignment to adorn the dome of St. Peter's because Raphael had a soul. One had vision, the other had no vision. One was a perfect technician, the other had a reach that exceeded his grasp.
Now, we come to your book to see what is your essential viewpoint about foreign trade in general, because if we get your viewpoint I do not think any statistics that you produce or that we will produce in opposition to them will be very essential. The American people next year will undoubtedly vote on the question of international cooperation, whether we shall have it in the post-war era or not, and a part of that broader program will be the question of freer international trade. It that time the American people, I assume, will want to know from those who seek to counsel, advise, and lead them, what is your fundamental attitude toward the question of international trade; and are you speaking from your heart, or from your larynx.
Let us take up a few passages from that interesting book that you sent out.
Mr. CROWTHER. Will I have to decide the source of my voice?
Mr. CROWTHER. That will simplify matters if I do not have to do that.