Here is a treasure in the history of the pro-capitalist novel. Garet Garrett, author of The People's Pottage, is the story of an upstart Wall Street speculator financier, Henry Galt, a shadowy figure who stays out of the limelight as much as possible until he unleashes a plan that had been years in the marking: he uses his extraordinary entrepreneurial talent to acquire control of a failing railroad.
Through outstanding management sense, good pricing, excellent service, and overall business savvy, he out competes all the big names in the business, while making a fortune in the process. Garrett has a way of illustrating just what it takes to be a businessman of this sort, and how his mind alone becomes the source of a fantastic revenue stream.
But his successes breed trouble. The government conspires with envious competitors to regulate him using the Sherman Antitrust Act, calling him a monopolist who is exploiting the public.
This book tells the dramatic story of his success and his fight. A reoccurring literary motif through the book has people asking: ""Who is Henry Galt?""
In one of many asides, this book contains one of the best explanations of the stupidity of ""bi-metallism"" that fixed the relationship between silver and gold. Indeed, the book is overall very sound on the money question, showing the inflationist populist movement of the late 19th century to be a pack of fools. Galt himself delivers some fantastic defenses of hard money and free markets, in both conversation and in front of the US Congress.
"The author, Garet Garrett, had the ability to make economic, financial, and management processes come alive in novel form,"" writes Edward Younkins. "Not only is The Driver a novel of high finance and Wall Street methods, it also paints a portrait of an efficacious and visionary man who uses reason to focus his enthusiasm on reality in his efforts to attain his goals."
“I’ll tell you what it means,” he shouted. “Wall Street has sucked the country dry. People may perish, but Wall Street will have its profit and interest. Labor may starve, but the banking power will keep money sound. Money in itself is nothing, - merely a convenience, a token by means of which useful things are exchanged. Is that so? Not at all. Money no longer exists for the sake of money. There is plenty everywhere, but people cannot buy because they are unemployed and have no money. Coxey says, “Create the money. Make it abundant. Then people may work and be prosperous.”
Garet Garrett (1878–1954), born Edward Peter Garrett, was an American journalist and author who was noted for his criticisms of the New Deal and U.S. involvement in the Second World War.
In 1911, he wrote a fairly successful book, Where the Money Grows and Anatomy of the Bubble. In 1916, at the age of 38, Garrett became the executive editor of the New York Tribune, after having worked as a financial writer for The New York Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and The Wall Street Journal. From 1920 to 1933, his primary focus was on writing books.
Between 1920 and 1932 Garrett wrote eight books, including The American Omen in 1928 and A Bubble That Broke the World in 1932.
In 1953, Garrett published The People's Pottage (later republished as The Burden of Empire and more recently as Ex America: the 50th Anniversary of the People's Pottage), which consisted of 3 essays: "The Revolution Was", "Ex America" and "The Rise of Empire"). Through these works, he questioned the aftermath of the Roosevelt administration and its impact on American society. In these works, he coined a phrase for a revolutionary methodology used by conservative thinking to understand the transformation of the old culture/regime: "revolution within the form."