The Economy: The Problem of Inventories

Among the forces that buffet the U.S. economy, few have preoccupied economists more than the way in which U.S. merchants and manufacturers manage their inventories. Fortnight ago, the errant ways of inventory buyers came under the cold eye of the Joint Congressional Economic Committee. Historically, fluctuations in inventory buying have accentuated swings in the business cycle: in a recovery, businessmen help to create inflation by rapidly building up their inventories, and in a recession they contribute to unemployment by cutting back sharply on their orders. "Investment in inventories," lamented the Joint Committee's economic experts, "has been perverse in timing...

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