Recounting, not rewriting, history – the Great Depression

Even though I have two books on the desk that I have yet to finish reading, I’m interested in perusing books about economics. Not advanced economics, but just the basics. I’m still trying to find the time to read Basic Economics – on our book list – but thanks to a tip from the good folks at Hot Air, I’ve found another book to add to the list.

Robert Murphy authors The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. From the inside flap, courtesy…

Everything you know about the Great Depression and the New Deal is wrong.

We all learned in school that the 1920s were a time of unregulated capitalism that led to the stock market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire ideologue who did nothing to alleviate the crisis–even as citizens starved and were forced to live in “Hoovervilles.” And the interventionist policies and massive spending programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal gradually lifted us out of the Depression, until World War II brought it to a definitive end.

The only trouble with this official narrative–taught in most history textbooks, and proclaimed as gospel by the media–is that every element of it is false. Worse, this unsubstantiated myth is now being used to justify a “new New Deal” in response to today’s economic crisis that could lead to a Greater Depression even deeper and longer than the first. But in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, economist Robert Murphy fact-checks the myths, shows why they’re wrong, and delves deep into history to set the record straight. His “politically incorrect” conclusion? It was government, not free markets, that caused the Great Depression–and the New Deal only made it worse. The real “lessons of the Great Depression” are not what you’ve been taught.

  • The Crash of `29 was caused not by capitalism, but by the boom brought on by the newly created Federal Reserve’s easy money policy (sound familiar?)
  • Hoover made the Depression “Great” precisely by abandoning the laissez-faire approach that previous presidents had followed and that kept depressions short
  • The bank runs of the 1930s were caused by government intervention in the banking system
  • Government efforts to prop up wages and prices led to a full decade of double-digit unemployment
  • FDR’s arbitrary policies toward businessmen resulted in net investment of less than zero for much of the Depression

Might Barack Obama be the new FDR? You’ll know, after reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal that if he is, that’s nothing to celebrate.

Here is a screen shot of the first couple of paragraphs.


2 replies
  1. brainflation
    brainflation says:

    America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard is one to read for a proper view of the Great Depression.

    It can even be found for free online at the Mises institute (google it) along with other greats like The Law by Frederic Bastiat and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.

    Also there is a great book on American History written by Howard Zinn called A People's History of the United States which gives a less than glowing, yet truthful perspective on American history which I had never before seen. It was available online for free (though the legal status is unknown) with a quick google search. It probably still is.

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