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.
"Robert P. Murphy's splendid guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal is a clear, compelling account of an era that even most economists get wrong. Now that many people are clamoring for a rerun of the New Deal, you owe it to yourself to find out what such a sequel would entail. Murphy's book is the best place to begin your quest."
--Robert Higgs, Senior Fellow in Political Economy, The Independent Institute
Robert P. Murphy
Robert P. Murphy earned his Ph.D. in economics from New York University. A former professor at Hillsdale College, he is now an adjunct scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a senior fellow in business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute, and an economist with both the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Institute for Energy Research. He has testified before Congress on economic issues, and has worked as both an investment/business analyst and as a journalist. He is a frequent radio guest and writes a column for Townhall.com.
Robert P. Murphy is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, the Study Guide to "Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market," the "Human Action" Study Guide, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, and his newest book, Lessons for the Young Economist. He runs the blog Free Advice.
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