A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Was FDR wrong?

Today's morning session were conducted by Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education. It comes at economics from a more conservative (read that as free market rather than political) perspective and Mr. Reed spoke on Witchhunt of the Robber Barrons and Myths of The Great Depression.

Source: PBS

Robber Barron was an analysis of monopolies and a case study on John D. Rockefeller, whose compan, Standard Oil, was deemed a monopoly by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. Reed's argument is that Standard wasn't a monopoly in the villanous sense of the word but was an 'efficient' monopoly. Rockefeller was just better at his business than his competitors. Not corrupt. Not oppressive. But not afraid to take advantage of existing legislation and market practices either.

Source: The White House

The Myths of the Great Depression took FDR to task. Reed's thesis is that Roosevelt's action extended the Great Depression rather than shortening it. He makes an interesting case.
On both of these issues, there is a different perspective to argue from and it is the one I've heard most of my life so this was quite interesting to wrestle with. Did FDR's skill as a communicator blind many to his erroneous and negative policies?

1 comment:

  1. I'd be curious to hear more of this argument. As a scientist, I frequently take issue with economics primarily because there is no way, with a sample size of 1, to empirically demonstrate that one solution is better than another. Each instance of an economic downturn, for example, occurs under somewhat different sets of circumstances.

    Without comprehensive knowledge of the multiverse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse), I'm not clear how you can demonstrate that making a different historical choice would have resulted in a particular (better or worse) outcome. In this case (or our current economic problems), I don't think even hindsight can be 20/20.