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LAUGHLIN'S CREDIT OF THE NATIONS:
A STUDY OF THE EUROPEAN WAR1
ONE of the difficulties under which the social sciences, as contrasted with the physical sciences, have always labored is the impossibility of initiating and carrying through laboratory experiments for the purpose of testing the accuracy of hypotheses. The experience of the past has been used to prove or disprove tentative theories, but these experiences often contain disturbing factors, and it is seldom possible by this means to isolate and determine the effect of a single factor, as can be done in an experiment in physics or chemistry. In the events of the present war, however, Professor Laughlin finds the needed social laboratory for the testing of theory. Never has credit been subjected to greater shocks or strains than during the present struggle; never has credit been used on so great a scale; and never have such diverse methods been used to safeguard it. Here is a wonderfully fruitful field for observation and induction, of which Professor Laughlin has fully availed himself. The working of credit in the principal belligerent countries is found to illustrate and prove the theory of money and credit previously elucidated by the author in his Principles of Money.
The book is divided into six chapters, of which the first describes briefly the great industrial advance achieved by all the European nations, but especially by Germany, during the thirty years prior to the outbreak of the war. Germany's remarkable industrial development provided the economic power and efficiency which made militarism possible. Because Germany was energetic and thrifty she could afford the
1 Credit of the Nations: A Study of the European War. New York, 1918. Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. xiv, 406.
By J. Lawrence Laughlin,