EST. 1903 - Presenting global influential leaders from business, labour, education & government through events
Wilson, Kenneth R.
Listen to Podcast
Watch Live Webcast
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
The issue of price control. First reactions to the new policy. Success of the programme. The essential reasons for the programme. The pseudo-controls instituted hours after the outbreak of war in September, 1939. Why it was felt by midsummer, 1941, that more drastic action must be taken. The nub of the problem: too much money for too few goods. An explanation of the dangerous inflationary spiral which was developing. The costs of war and how that translates for the man in the street into a full pay envelope and more spending money. The relationship between too much money and too few goods. The broad steps which the Government planned to meet the contingencies of such a financial situation. Five chief weapons in the Government's anti-inflation programme: fiscal policy; supply control; labour policy; agricultural policy; price policy. A brief explanation of each, and a look at the interdependency of these controls. Learning from the lessons of the first World War. Choosing between a "selective" ceiling on individual items where pressure of increased prices is particularly great, or an "overall" ceiling on almost all commodities and services everywhere. The Government's choice of an overall ceiling, a "retail freeze" which freezes most prices individually at retail. The placement of responsibility for "rolling back the squeeze" on business. The speaker's belief that it is still an open and debatable question whether or not we are going to be able to hold this kind of price ceiling. Difficulties and successes with the programme. A detailed explanation of how the "squeeze" works and the three reasons why there has been success: Big Volume; Big Business; Big Subsidies. How the subsidy issue looms as a very vital factor in future development. The need to draw the line between essential and non-essential goods. The speaker's belief that the extent to which the Government is prepared to continue paying very substantial subsidies is one of the most important gauges of how long we can continue to operate under this sort of prices ceiling. Some of the dividends which this price control programme is already beginning to pay. The halt which has taken place in the cost of living index. Canada's war industry bill. The enforced standardization and simplification of products. The real testing time that lies ahead. The effect on our war effort.