By Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich
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Additional info for An Economic and Social History of Europe, 1890–1939
Immense THE GOLD STANDARD AND IMPERIALISM 45 amounts of capital flowed among nations, encouraging a rapidly spreading economic developTIlent. The efficient operation of the . international economy depended not on the gold standard, but on the unique role played by Britain. Despite the growth of other national economies, the sheer size of the British market and Britain's continued commitment to free trade maintained Britain's position as a crucial outlet for both primary and manufactured products.
J,ptries moved to the gold standard after 1900, but there and in eastern Europe currencies remained subject to sudden and extensive political interference. Some countries, such as China, remained outside the system. For the gold standard to provide its full benefits, contemporaries argued that restrictions on the free flow of goods should be eliminated, and that authorities in all countries should be prepared to intervene according to widely recognised 'rules of the game'. A negative balance of payments was the signal for the central bank to raise interest rates.
Even within the protected domestic market, industry found itself hampered by the low levels of income and high share of agriculture in many provinces, which reduced the overall size of the market and left industry highly dependent on yearly harvest fluctuations. In the north and west, agricultural patterns approximated those found in the adjacent areas of western Europe. Even in these more advanced areas, however, levels of productivity tended to be lower than in their western neighbours. In Hungary, the immense Magyar estates produced at low levels compared to the large Junker holdings of eastern Germany.
An Economic and Social History of Europe, 1890–1939 by Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich