Dr. Oliver M. W. Sprague '94, Converse Professor of Banking, who has just resigned as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury in Washington, will return today to the Business School to resume his teaching there after a leave of absence of nearly four years, the majority of which time was spent as Economic Adviser to the Bank of England.
He will teach a new course in Business Economics offered for the first time this year to students in the new Extra Session opening in January, as well as to first year men. The course is intended to give students an opportunity to study business economics in the light of present national policies, and to evaluate critically the principles of recovery in the light of a changing economic situation. It will attempt to assay the trend of events, and to discuss some of the old economic principals in relation to the new social problems; whether the law of supply and demand is defunct; the extent to which prices increased by edict may result in increased purchasing power and a return to prosperity; and the feasibility of national planning.
The course will also include a discussion of the value of the profit motive in the regulation of our national economic life; the place of gold and the gold standard in national and international stability; and the agricultural problems.
The Extra Session at the Harvard Business School in which Professor Sprague will assist, is to be held from January 29 to August 15, 1934. Last year the school held its first extra session, which was attended by 75 men, many of whom had had extensive business or engineering experience. Thus far this year much interest has been in evidence concerning registration for the coming session.
After his graduation in 1894, Professor Sprague studied for his M. A. and Ph.D. under Professor Taussig, and did not come to the Business School until 1908. Throughout his career he has been noted for his judgments on current economic trends; after the War, he led an attack on the Federal Reserve Board. During the War, he favored the plan of meeting government expenses through the proceeds of increased taxation rather than through borrowing.
In 1930, when he had become financial adviser to the Bank of England, he announced that he had found no indications of economic recovery in America, and predicted that the depression would certainly become more acute, if indeed it were not to be a chronic condition. His opinion of the Russian system, often expressed, is that Russia's economic structure constitutes a direct menace "to the economic framework of the Western World," just as that framework is a menace to Russia. Professor Sprague had been associated with the Secretary of the Treasury as Executive Assistant since May of this year.