War-Ravaged World

War-Ravaged World


This cartoon originally appeared in the February 1944 edition of Canadian Countryman. It depicts a sick patient representing a “War-Ravaged World” being presented by his doctor a dose of “Freer Trade” with the caption “When he gets over the fever, this is the tonic to put him on his feet again.” Appearing as it did in the winter of 1944, the cartoon was clearly depicting free trade as a sure means to economic recovery following the end of the war that was at hand. This was a solution offered up by those who were eager to avoid a repeat of the economic depression that followed the First World War, characterized as it was by the worldwide creation of trade barriers and protectionist policies. Canadian farmers also had a direct interest in advocating a system of open markets, as their produce found ready consumers among the hungry citizens of war-ravaged Europe.

A system of freer markets was indeed what prevailed in the post-War period, overseen and regulated by new transnational institutions like the International Monetary Fund. This system is also widely seen as the cause of the quarter-century of worldwide economic expansion that followed.


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