FDR: Time-travelling destroyer of economies

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186 Responses to “FDR: Time-travelling destroyer of economies”

  1. buddy66 says:

    “In Canada, if you don’t like civilization, it’s easy enough to wander out back into the bush.”

    I tried that. It was okay for a while, but I missed beer.

    I stopped paying income taxes after the Tet offensive in 1968. It was bad the first few years: threats of prison, etc. But they finally left me alone. I went barter, under-the-table, off-the books, cash-only, anything to keep from kicking into the gummint’s war chest. I became active anti-war, as I had been active anti-racial segregation. I managed to stay out of jail, mostly, except for some sleepovers. Quite a romantic, rebellious life … yawn. It got to be a way of life, as adventures often do, so I stayed with it — until I got too old to run with the bulls.

    Have fun, you anarchists and libertarians, with your constant theoretical yammer yammer. Try the real A-L life; it’s more fun. You meet a lot of chicks that way. But remember what the poet said, “To live outside the law you must be honest.”

    First of all, with yourselves.

  2. agnot says:

    I haven’t read it, but I understand that Keynes’ book was written out of frustration with FDR for not using the Keynesian approach.

    FDR included tax cuts. Keynes insisted that tax cuts would counter the stimulus effect. Theoretically, the Great Depression would have ended sooner.

    Also, theoretically, WWII prolonged rather than ended the Great Depression. Stimulus was on things that blew up, not things that produced. Unemployment ended, but often with the end of the soldier’s life.

    That said, FDR’s infrastructure projects have been key parts of this country’s economic engine for the better part of a century. Corporations, banks and the far right didn’t build it but they profit by it even now.

    It is in need of repair, update and expansion. Maybe it is about time.

  3. zuzu says:

    I am going to venture a guess that the vast majority of liberals and libertarians on BoingBoing (does BB even have Republicans) who are arguing have not spent decades studying the problem and are really just spewing points to back up their ideology… hence they are are full of shit.

    Who are you, Andrew Keen? “Leave it to the experts”, eh?

    Schools, doctors, and government know best, huh? Enjoy the re-education center then.

  4. Beedie says:

    Someone above said,

    “In contrast, the Government WANTS its Citizens to capture the benefit, not to re-capture it for itself.”

    Many people believe that this is not true, and that it never has been true. Government is primarily interested in serving itself. No different from any other actor in the system. The founders of this country realized that, but a lot of Americans seem to have forgotten.

  5. agnot says:

    Re: #40 posted by agnot

    Errata: I should have written “tax increases.”

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    free market anarchy = contradiction in terms.
    Laws or customs of purchase and sale, in themselves, negate “anarchy” (an-arch ; no-king or -rule), and render it functionally meaningless in this context.
    A “market” without rules is a tumult and a place of pillage violence and force.
    Guaranteeing the physical security of the market, both of wares and of participants, is the first duty of governance, perhaps its primary and indispensable duty. This is historically undoubtedly the truth – coinage can develop only after that security exists for a number of physically separate markets (it would otherwise scarcely be necessary). Without such security, the farmer won’t grow crops, the husbandman will neglect his herds and flocks, the mechanic cannot profitably exercise his skill.
    Extend this security to the recreational drug market if you wish to reduce the violence which plagues American (and mexican, and afghan) society. And improve your economy, to boot.

  7. GregLondon says:

    Individual people are complex “black boxes”, but a social system needs to be simple and “dumb”.

    Only because you say so.

    This is what makes a heterogeneous massive network such as the Internet work, for example.

    And the fly-by-wire system of an aircraft only works if you have complete tyranny of the control system, so we should have tyranny.

    algae thrives without structure, so we shoudl have anarchism.

    parasites thrive off of someone else, so we should have parasitism.

    vampire bats thrive off of blood, so we should have vampirism.

    All you did was find something that looks like the solution you want and then made a generic comparison between people and that system, hoping that no one would question the implication that your statement is loaded with: that the internet is a good working model off of which to base social structure decisions.

    Comparing people to network boxes is ludicrus.

    Price floors cause unemployment.

    THe US has had minimum wage laws since ~1938 and somehow we’ve managed to avoid 70 solid years of 20% unemployment.

    It’s not “magic” (or perfect), just emergence / spontaneous order.

    Crystals are a chemical process the shows order. Evolution via DNA is a chemical process that shows order.

    But people aren’t chemicals in a testtube.

    again, all you have to do is pick something that looks like the solution you want, make the casually compare people to that thing, then say that people should be modeled like that thing. While hoping that no one questions the fallacy fo the original comparison in the first place.

    The issue at hand here is the privileged position of licensing doctors and medical technologies… That hiring a doctor is anything more than paying for advice, or that by force of law a prescription is required for drugs or implants I choose to put into my body.

    I like my doctors licensed. I like laws against snake oil.

  8. ill lich says:

    The more I read these discussions of economics, the more I think: All Economics is “Voodoo Economics.”

    It’s all chaos theory dressed up in politics and personal desires: we all think we know the way the economy should work, but we have no real way of knowing. Sure, we can look at past economic history and try to extrapolate, but the world economy of 1930 is not the same as today, any more than 1930 was the same as 1800. It’s too complicated to grasp, even for economists (who spend their whole lives studying it, and still disagree with each other over both particulars and generalities.)

    But then again, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

  9. zuzu says:

    There is nothing “consumer-choice” about health-care: you see a doctor because you have to.

    Your treatment options, including what you can afford, are certainly a consumer choice.

    Just like what you eat, what you wear, and where you live.

    I eat because I have to, but whether I fuel my body with steak or popcorn will depend both on my dietary needs and my budget.

  10. Andrew says:

    The facetious “time travel” bullshit is really unnecessary. Perhaps you ought to learn some history yourself. The original big daddy of intervention in the US was Herbert Hoover, who was Secretary of Commerce to two presidents beginning in 1921 and President himself beginning in 1928. He gained a reputation for being rather laissez-faire (thus, the antithesis to FDR) but it’s easy to see from this remove that this is a colored view — more on that shortly. Hoover was a great fan of getting government into every corner of business, and he had the power at the time to actually achieve it. When the Crash happened on his watch he responded with isolationism, which helped to make things worse.

    So why do we have the notion that Hoover and Roosevelt were such opposites, economically? Because the Roosevelt campaign told us so, of course. Actually, Roosevelt’s solution to the depression was exactly the same as the current “solution” — to repeat the mistake that caused the depression, only ten times larger. Hoover is seen as the non-interventionist because his spending and meddling were simply dwarfed by FDR’s spending and meddling, which did nothing whatsoever to get us out of the depression either…

    … until the war. Now I hear you saying, “war spending doesn’t actually fix a broken economy” and you’re right. It doesn’t and it didn’t. However at the end of the war we found ourselves in a completely new world political situation — one which not only saw the US situated as a superpower, but also saw the US Dollar accorded status as the chief currency of exchange (and de facto, of reserve) of nearly the entire world. Now this is a powerful thing because it let the US have debt almost without obligation, and the abandonment of any semblance of a gold standard in the 1970s allowed this debt to grow and grow and grow, creating almost unlimited consumerism and false prosperity…

    But not quite forever. Oh, we’ve had bumps in the road — in the 80s, in the 90s, in 2001 — and they were “solved” by “loosening up credit” and creating even more debt (and don’t you forget that it was Congress in the 1990s who proclaimed that mortgages should be “more easily accessible” to those who didn’t actually have the means to pay them back…) but today US debt is becoming less and less palatable a commodity in the international market, and the Dollar faces stiff competition from the Euro seeking to supplant it as a “world currency”. Too much debt is our biggest problem, and our creditors are starting to get angry. To act like irresponsible college students and spend another trillion dollars will not be the solution.

  11. Takuan says:

    never heard of Blackwater, eh SKR?

  12. Ugly Canuck says:

    Taxes are the price of civilization.
    In Canada, if you don’t like civilization, it’s easy enough to wander out back into the bush.
    But most people like civilization, and understand that you gotta give a little, if you want to get a little, eh?
    More to the point, get politically involved, if you wish to change the Laws we live under. They actually are amenable to change in our systems if you can persuade others that the proposed change makes sense and will improve life for people.
    I have seen nothing in the current economic crisis which argues for any diminution in the role of democracy and general majoritarian rule, and certainly none for any radical political re-ordering.
    We just need better leaders, and perhaps for that to happen we simply need more truly ordinary people to get engaged in the process of governance. The “drop out” part of “turn on, tune in, drop out” slogan of the sixties was grossly in error, and the resulting disengagement of the majority of 60s and 70s youths from mainstream politics allowed these unrepresentative right-wing “better-than-you” jerks the window to get their nutbar philosophies in through the Statehouse door and onto the law books.
    So we’ll have to work through our mistake of allowing these greedy reckless idiots to actually gain power.
    It follows, then, that the solution to the economic crisis is, as it has ever been in such cases, for people to work yet harder at being better people.
    It also helps to help your neighbors, if you can. Perhaps you could talk a little politics while you help them get ends to meet…

  13. rpl says:

    Hoover did nothing, and down the US slid.

    This is simply not historically accurate. Hoover did a lot of things: raising tariffs, wage supports, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, and huge tax increases, including the first corporate income tax, just to name a few. The problem is, most of these measures either had no effect or actually made the situation worse.

    I’m not saying the New Deal was perfect, but FDR was at least trying to do something (which I personally think is better than doing nothing)

    Do you really think that nothing is the worst possible thing we could do? Really? No policy, however ill-conceived could cause more harm than doing nothing? I don’t agree. In fact, I think the real lesson of Hoover is that it is entirely possible to do far worse than just doing nothing.

  14. winstonsmith85 says:

    Re: # 18 by TIMEFISHBLUE
    Yes, I will be working overtime on this one.
    It will not be reflected on my paycheck.
    Pass the Victory Gin!

  15. GregLondon says:

    And why is medical school so expensive? If there’s so much demand for medical care, why aren’t there more schools being created to meet demand, competing to lower tuition rates? Why aren’t doctors bidding each other down to sane levels of cost? (Oh, because the AMA acts as a union to keep doctors artificially scarce, and their salaries bloated, perhaps.)

    Good farking lard, man. you think any idiot can go to medical school and start cutting into your gawdamn brain? You think any idiot can go to medical school, start cutting into your brain, and then go back to school to teach other idiots?

    Some people just can’t handle it. A lot of people, actually. You can plumb with a high school diploma and a little bit of on the job training. You try neurosurgery with that, and you’ll have a 100% fatality rate.

    Vast conspiracy theories to explain wage differences between neurosurgeons and plumbers is exactly why I didn’t want to get involved in an economic discussion with you. This is bordering on psychosis, and I don’t have the time to deal with your psychosis.

    The thing is your belief system of free-market-anarchism actually requires a conspiracy theory, because if the simple explanation is true (i.e. being a neurosurgeon is just harder than being a plumber), then your entire belief system collapses.

  16. 1timstreet says:

    If we could only go back in time ourselves and see what really happened. But then we would be able to rewrite history the way we want it to be…

  17. desiredusername says:

    I think if free market anarchy was working it would reflect in the political will of the people to reduce government. Instead the will of the people is in confilct about the role of the government. You or I can’t change the political tide by arguing anonymously on the internet. It’s bigger than us.

    Make the free market work for everybody and no one will care to ask the government to do anything other than get out of the way. That is your mission should you choose to accept it.

    It’s fair to assume that not everyone wants the same things. Some people are extremely socially or culturally oriented and are bothered by the demands of meeting what they consider high prices for necessities, other people need to make a lot of money in order to have the sex life they want and are therefore extremely motivated to find the best way to bring in big dollar figures, and most people fall in between somewhere. You figure out how to make it work and I’ll vote to reduce government. Deal?

  18. FoetusNail says:

    Whatever, the bottom-line is there was once a projected budget surplus. Bush was elected and, ignoring the opinions of military professionals and world opinion, wasted this potential surplus on disastrous wars; His administration then reversed policies, put in place after the Great Depression, lifted regulatory oversight, and ignored the looming disaster, leading directly to a worldwide economic disaster.

    At the same time, to put pressure on China, they devalued the dollar to the point where, even before this economic disaster, there was talk of the Dollar no longer being the World’s reserve currency. All of this has plunged this country into a depression, with a national debt in the trillions of dollars before the bailouts even started and unemployment currently approaching 8 percent.

    In 8 short years we went from boom to nuclear bust. Bush’s wars, have cost us every penny we now need to bail ourselves out of the economic mess his administration started. While they gave tax breaks and no-bid contracts to their wealthy friends and the corporations they own and manage. Not to mention the deals Cheney made with the energy companies, who, while the country is dying on the vine, have reaped record quarterly profits.

    Well, what should we do then Mr. Austria? Why should we listen to your party?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Greg London:

    Despite your scorn for plumbers, or perhaps your unreasoning deification of neurologists, both are highly skilled trades that require significant investiture of time for training and to gain experience. The mathematical and logical requirements to become a master plumber are fairly daunting.

    Find me a neurologist who can calculate vent stack requirements for a 100 story building. Do you even understand why that is hard?

    I personally am a rocket scientist. I do my own plumbing and I read extensively in neurology, because I became interested in the field after I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Oliver Sacks. In my opinion, an expert plumber deserves no less pay than a rocket scientist or neurologist.

    Coolidge’s government caused the great depression, Hoover took the fall, Roosevelt cured it after several false starts, and the decimation of the working class by WW2 permitted the ensuing prosperity. Or at least that’s what my grandfather told me in the 1970s.

    That is all.

  20. Andrew says:

    #46 Foetusnail:

    At the same time, to put pressure on China, they devalued the dollar

    In 8 short years we went from boom to nuclear bust. Bush’s wars, have cost us every penny we now need to bail ourselves out of the economic mess his administration started.

    How does more debt do anything but devalue the dollar further? How does more spending repair the damage caused by too much spending?

  21. GregLondon says:

    it just so happens that free markets are the best mechanism that exists

    uh…

    for getting uncertainty as near as possible to the minimum,

    er..

    of discouraging mistakes,

    ah…

    and of enabling the system to go on despite failures.

    ooh…

    Any centralized/controlled/etc. method is bound to be

    uuhh…

    less efficient

    eeeh…

    and ultimately less stable

    You are welcome to move to Afghanistan. They currently don’t have much of a state government to speak of. I’m certain that the US would love it if you could implement this utopian world in a place that has seen no effective central government and little more than constant civil war for decades.

    I double-dog dare you to do it, prove all of us knuckleheaded government interventionists wrong, prove Ayn Rand right, make history, and live happily ever after.

    What’s that? It only works if you someone can invent better bearings? It doesn’t work with current existing people technology?

    That’s what I thought.

  22. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Why didn’t they report the part where John Keynes asks FDR, “Why do you keep saying that everything is ‘heavy’? Is there something wrong with gravity in 1933?”

    Is that humor or could he simply not understand metaphors?

  23. dculberson says:

    Andrew, the US unemployment rate and GDP were back to pre-crash levels before the war even started.

  24. Ugly Canuck says:

    Nonsense, Zuzu. Medically necessary procedures are just that. And only in the USA amongst developed nations does cost enter into the initial discussions of treatment.
    It is always tough to wake a patient out of a coma or severe shock to ask for their opinion as to their ‘choices”.

  25. SKR says:

    Since my Mises reading compatriots have already explained how FDR’s policies extended the Great Depression, we should also consider the ramifications of the policies of Hoover. In order to shore up approval ratings, Hoover abandoned his free market ideas and institutionalized protectionism via Smoot-Hawley, and then decided that it would be a good idea to raise tax rates in order to fund government relief programs. Both of these anti-free market actions had drastically chilling effects on the economy.

    That said, it is hard to argue that FDR’s seizure of gold assets and the subsequent devaluation of the dollar did not increase uncertainty in the investment market. Which contributed to a stalled recovery.

  26. dculberson says:

    [my #48 was in response to your #42 which said "FDR's spending and meddling, which did nothing whatsoever to get us out of the depression either... ... until the war."]

  27. zuzu says:

    …or perhaps “subsidized” by the choice of policy A (private provision) over Policy B (gov. provision) by the Government (that is by the Gov’s current choice of policy), like US health-insurance companies are?

    This is precisely the same false-choice as Policy A: Fascism or Policy B: Communism.

    The USA health care system is not a free-market or even consumer-oriented system. It’s designed to keep people unwilling to negotiate their jobs (i.e. employer-paid insurance) and to provide corporate welfare the medical-industrial complex. In short, it’s a “supply-side economics” system. Many “Liberal” people defend this system under an aegis of “People are too stupid to make their own health decisions.”

    What we really need is morphological freedom and truly rigorous competition in medicine and biotechnology. More DIYbio and less AMA.

    Let’s begin by legalizing parallel drug trade to introduce real price competition for pharmaceuticals, rather than the current system which is equivalent to “DVD Region Codes” (i.e. market segmentation).

    Let’s also legalize over-the-counter (OTC) prescription-free sale of birth control pills, because they’re safer than aspirin.

  28. FoetusNail says:

    Hoover and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act

    The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (sometimes known as the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act)[1] was an act signed into law on June 17, 1930, that raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels. In the United States 1,028 economists signed a petition against this legislation, and after it was passed, many countries retaliated with their own increased tariffs on U.S. goods, and American exports and imports plunged by more than half. In the opinion of some economists, the Smoot-Hawley Act was a catalyst for the severe reduction in U.S.-European trade from its high in 1929 to its depressed levels of 1932 that accompanied the start of the Great Depression.[2][3]

    A petition was signed by 1028 economists in the United States asking President Hoover to veto the legislation, organized by Paul Douglas, Irving Fisher, James TFG Wood, Frank Graham, Ernest Patterson, Henry Seager, Frank Taussig, and Clair Wilcox.[5] Automobile executive Henry Ford spent an evening at the White House trying to convince Hoover to veto the bill, calling it “an economic stupidity”.[6] J. P. Morgan’s chief executive Thomas W. Lamont said he “almost went down on my knees to beg Herbert Hoover to veto the asinine Hawley-Smoot tariff.”[7]

    Ignoring 1028 professional economists sounds so familiar.

    Hoover’s Last Legacy:
    Time to Fix America’s Tariff System

    By Edward Gresser

  29. SKR says:

    Since everyone seems to have abandoned the semantic argument of what is meant by “started” the GreatD, I’ll just get in my last two cents with an overly strained analogy.

    Imagine you had a person camping in the woods. They start a fire and imperfectly put that fire out leaving a couple of embers that may or may not lead to a forest fire. Along comes a pyromaniac with a can of gasoline which is poured onto the embers causing a massive forest fire.

    Would you say the pyromaniac or the camper started the forest fire?

  30. FoetusNail says:

    Andrew, that’s a good question, why don’t we ask Bush and his friends, who handed out almost a trillion dollars before leaving office with no questions asked.

  31. Takuan says:

    lots of doctors get to become doctors because mummy and daddy were doctors. Lots of talented people never get the resources to even finish high school.

    How about guaranteed free tuition for all to post secondary education? To a university system that fails half the first year, because it is HARD? Teach the teachable but everyone gets a shot.

  32. Stoic fool says:

    #38 The dismal science as a science? My wouldn’t that be useful!

    It’s somewhat bemusing that is not the focus of the conversation. Without quantification, how useful is any of this? It just looks like a food fight across the aisle.

  33. Andrew says:

    #142 GregLondon: Can you possibly be so ignorant as you pretend to be? There is no market when everyone is trying to kill one another. There is no market when everyone is stealing from one another. There is no market when there is slavery. Protecting the rights of life, liberty, and property is cool. It’s beyond cool, it’s awesome. With life, liberty, and property secured, we can have trade in goods and services. With trade, we can live better than cavemen. But when you tell Farmer Brown that he must not buy Farmer Smith’s cow, you’ve made things worse. When you tell Farmer Brown that he must buy Farmer Smith’s cow, you’ve made things worse. When you tell Farmer Brown that if he wants to buy Farmer Smith’s cow the price will be X, you’ve made things worse. When you tell Farmers Brown and Smith that all trade between them must be denominated in acorns, and anyone trading in eggs instead will be jailed, you’ve made things worse. When you tell Farmer Brown that anytime he buys something from Smith, he has to give one in five acorns to you, you’ve made things worse. When you tell Farmer Brown that he’s obligated to hire Farmer Smith’s son to collect eggs from the chickens, at a certain minimum pay, but Brown doesn’t need anyone to help him collect eggs and he doesn’t value the services at the required rate anyway, you’ve made things worse. Modern “democracy” is the continuation of feudalism by other means.

  34. Ugly Canuck says:

    Ah desired, it’s true we all want different things, but it is also true that there are some things which we all without exception need : adequate caloric intake, clean water, clothing, shelter from the elements, health care when we’re sick, education for our ignorant youth.
    It’s keeping the things we all need available and affordable to all that our common shared government ought to focus on.
    The rest is merely style.
    Although there are some slick folks who say that style is in fact the only thing that is truly necessary. And I’m not sure that they are wrong.
    And more generally, even though I am not a citizen of the USA, I have the conceit to feel that I have been observant enough not to underestimate what Americans can do, working together, once the American public has reached a broad enough consensus as to what needs to be done.
    Some say that the “madness of crowds” has brought about a bubble and bust.
    But I think that in the case of the USA, the “wisdom of crowds” ought not to be discounted. After all, their constitution reads like a bet on it, an expression of faith in the wisdom of “We the people”.
    In the final analysis, I’m an incorrigible optimist. In that, I like to think of myself as being inspired by American models. And so, I think that America will be a better place to live in, for having gone through this economic crisis: just as it was a better place, after the Civil War.
    Or after the great depression and World War II.

  35. Ugly Canuck says:

    Today’s example of responsible Defense Department spending:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7885533.stm

    but not a single dime for the poor, that would damage “incentives”, the same reason that Wall Street cannot cut its bonuses.

  36. Ugly Canuck says:

    SKR: I meant to point out that the “monopoly of force” is usually referent to existing within a state’s borders: hence, Costa Rica has, as a State, a monopoly on justified violence within its borders, even without armed forces: it is internal.
    The US Military enjoys no monopoly on the use of violence, especially within US borders.
    My guess is, seeing as how most “state” violence – outside of its own borders – in my lifetime has come from the US (vietnam grenada Panama somalia Iraq Afghanistan) , with a little bit from Russia (Afghanistan), and China (tibet), (though there has been a lot of civil war – by definition, partly by non-state actors) that the US could get by with much much smaller military expenditures.
    Military expenditure is in no way a productive investment. It takes funds from more productive uses, and devotes them to the destruction of things and people.
    It takes $$ from uses more productive of human happiness, anyway.
    Have you really decided on guns, not butter?

  37. FoetusNail says:

    A food fight with our food, homes, and jobs.

  38. Maddy says:

    doesn’t the battle over FDR lengthened the depression, shortened the depression sound a lot like Ronald Reagan ended the cold war, the cold war ended itself …

  39. minTphresh says:

    yep, nation of morons.

  40. GregLondon says:

    Andrew, I will assume the lack of response to my question in #176 means you dont’ have an answer. i.e. your constitution is little more than you handing down the commandments written in stone, and you don’t allow for any mechanism to modify it.

  41. zuzu says:

    Some people just can’t handle it. A lot of people, actually. You can plumb with a high school diploma and a little bit of on the job training. You try neurosurgery with that, and you’ll have a 100% fatality rate.

    The United States is actually massively over-supplied with educated labor; such that college graduates compete for counter jobs at Starbucks and Borders. The rate limiting factor is not a dearth of smart people.

    The thing is your belief system of free-market-anarchism actually requires a conspiracy theory, because if the simple explanation is true (i.e. being a neurosurgeon is just harder than being a plumber), then your entire belief system collapses.

    Being a plumber is more difficult, in terms of fluid dynamics calculations, than most people realize. Maybe it’s not comparable to neurosurgery (which is an extreme example), but certainly to general practitioners which is what most people need.

    The real hope though, as far as I can tell, will come from parallel practitioners such as nursing and medical technicians putting the squeeze on doctors to under-bid them in providing equivalent (or at least sufficient) medical care in “clinics” rather than “hospitals”.

    (This is why doctors and the AMA generally “hate” nurses — they see them as low-cost competition to their protected racket, the same way that American car companies hated Japanese imports in the 1980s.)

  42. Ugly Canuck says:

    I’m with you Tak, exam-based testing for free or reduced tuition makes excellent sense.

  43. Ugly Canuck says:

    “Educated labor” is not “skilled labor”.
    There’s a shortage of the latter, but I could be mistaken.

  44. Ugly Canuck says:

    Correcting mistakes (remedying injustice);
    reducing uncertainty (determination of contractual obligations by the Courts);
    both require centralized/monopoly provision of Courts of Law and the enforcement of its orders.
    Liberty both personal and proprietary requires an unbiased State for its preservation.
    The exercise of liberty requires that here be Law.
    This is why politics MUST be attended to. Not to do so is to neglect your liberty: rule yourselves, or you shall be ruled. No third option.
    Our highly complex societies are the result of the spontaneous development of our human society over time-spans that are far far beyond any one person’s (or even any one nation’s) experience. Governments traditions schools courts families and even our own bodies act as inter-generational transmitters of knowledge capability and wisdom. And jeez it still ain’t enough…
    We are essentially social creatures; essentially kind, essentially gentle. But this changes quickly in the face of unfairness, or should I say, injustice. Some even go so far as to say Society itself is the problem…

  45. odin861 says:

    You guys are all more smart than me!

    I am amazed at the amount of time and effort you are able to spend on a comment thread in Boing Boing. Very interesting reading, but I would rather have all of you intelligent people out there working somewhere or buying something. THAT is what really stimulates the economy.

  46. rootboy says:

    Some of FDR’s actions did prolong the Great Depression: namely, attempting to balance the budget in 1937 before the recovery was complete.

  47. Takuan says:

    one way to give a tribe memory is by songs.

  48. Ceronomus says:

    @ #34

    Hate has nothing to do with it. The staggering amount of stupidity in this country is so thick you could cut it with a $5.99 Booooweee knife as seen on HSN.

    When the people running this country lost the ability to keep the facts correct we should’ve gone back to pushing for term limits. Let’s face it, when the people who were THERE can’t remember the facts of the Great Depression, maybe we need to keep out the dementia crowd and bring in more young blood… on BOTH sides.

    See, I love how pointing out that something like this is so incorrect seems to lead to the assumption that it is merely hating on one side or the other. Since I recall Biden getting his share of grief for his faux pas, maybe people should point fingers back at the idiots spouting this crap in the first place.

  49. noen says:

    Free market theory is based on some wacky assumptions – if those assumptions aren’t true, then the whole theory crashes to the ground.

    Two of those assumptions are:

    * People have perfect knowledge of the value of what they’re buying or selling

    * People never base buying or selling decisions based on what other people are doing.

    Traders on Wall Street never engage in mass hysteria? HA! The Utopian free market doesn’t exist. It can’t exist. It’s based on a misinterpretation of Adam Smith and the ignorance of economists holding on to abstract concepts that have no relationship to the real world.

    The financial system is a game and like any game we can change the rules when they result in people suffering. Currently the rules yield a system where money is funneled to the rich. Our economy is in trouble because, surprize!, no one has any money except for the rich. If you and I exchange goods we have an economy. If I take everything away from you and leave you with nothing that economy is no more.

    What should we do? First off we need to regulate finance. Credit derivatives should be banned then a variant of the Tobin tax could be applied, a tax on all transactions between institutions. Finally, some of the bailout should be directed to calming the housing crisis. People should not be thrown out of their homes because the very rich decided to gamble with trillions of our money. If the economic system isn’t serving the common good it should be replaced.

    Every single effort by our governments should be towards changing the system, not just propping it up. We have the right to change it if it isn’t meeting our needs.

  50. Phikus says:

    Nice straw cows you’ve got there Andrew…

  51. Ugly Canuck says:

    As to economic activity who cares if it is private or government spending? The issue is whether one or the other leads to greater and more widespread prosperity. As far as I can see private-sector spending occurs only where the spender can with tolerable certainty re-capture later more than what he spent. If others get any crumbs, it is by accident, not by design.
    In contrast, the Government WANTS its Citizens to capture the benefit, not to re-capture it for itself. It has essentially different aims than the private-sector spender.
    The US private-sector big money propaganda machine has been so effective and so unopposed for so long that people can no longer see that it would be better to use the finance system “bail-out” monies to pay off, in full, 90% of outstanding US mortgages.
    Rather than to just hand it over to the uber-wealthy, so that it can be used by the same folks whose actions brought on this crisis, leveraging it to buy up all productive assets at fire-sale prices. And they don’t want to pay taxes on their taxpayer-funded acquisitions!

  52. GregLondon says:

    Growth can’t be “encouraged”; economics is not a study of incentives.

    Well, I was going to reply until I read this little gem. At some point, it becomes clear that someone’s views are so far gone that it’s not possible to affect them in any meaningful way.

  53. mdh says:

    I wouldn’t point and laugh. There is very legitimate disagreement about FDRs role in the great depression.

    Not in his STARTING it.

    That is straight up point-and-laugh territory.

  54. buddy66 says:

    It’s absolutely true that FDR spent our way out of the Great Depression. His largest and most successful expenditure was …WWII.

    No Congressional opposition either.

    Or do you think the war was cost-free?

  55. grimc says:

    @skr

    So, one guy is a camper who tries to put out the fire he started…the other guy is a PYROMANIAC SUCCUMBING TO HIS DESIRES WHO POURS GAS ON THE FIRE TO WATCH THE WORLD BURN, BURN, BUUUUUURN!!!!!

    If that’s the analogy you want to spend your final two cents on, you paid too much.

  56. Gilbert Wham says:

    #109: “my opinion is based upon reflexive ideological belief, not decades long research of the era done while getting PhD in economics”

    Seeing as getting holders of PHDs in economics to agree on the causes seems difficult, I wouldn’t denigrate your reflexive ideological belief. Everyone seems quite fond of theirs. Whatever yours is, feel free do brandish it.

  57. Andrew says:

    OK, so, now you and I disagree. We cannot both choose the result. Either we have the FDA or we don’t. Either way one of us has to have it done against their will.

    I’m sorry, did I say that? No, I don’t think I did. You have every right to the FDA. I’ll do nothing to stop you. However your right to the FDA ends where my rights begin — in particular you don’t have the right to take money from my wallet to operate the FDA. Only I do. (Actually I think the FDA does manage to do more good than harm, but that’s irrelevant for any number of reasons.)

    As for your “clubhouses” question, it’s a serious question and you shouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s been quite thoroughly studied. I don’t have the time to recount the literature to you especially when I know that you have no interest in learning, but A) associations should be voluntary, B) most agreements between mutually consenting parties are just great, but C) there are a very few ways in which people mustn’t “voluntarily” waive their rights because it would be prejudicial to the children who had no choice but to be born into such an unfree system.

  58. Andrew says:

    Andrew, the US unemployment rate and GDP were back to pre-crash levels before the war even started.

    But was the GDP counted in dollars, or in real value? And does that employment figure count those taking government money for useless makework, or only those doing something productive? You can make figures dance any way you like.

    Absent World War II the New Deal could indeed have lead to a “recovery” but it would have been the same kind of illusory “recovery” we’ve been having back-to-back since the 80s — the replacement of a burst bubble with an even bigger bubble. Creating money without creating value, and creating “employment” without creating production. It’s like crack. The high is nice, but the comedown is a bitch, and you have to take a bigger hit every time just to get to “normal”.

  59. GregLondon says:

    Modern “democracy” is the continuation of feudalism by other means.

    Free-Market-Anarchism is a perpetual-motion idea. It only works with better than perfect people.

    It is a naive idea. About as naive as saying modern democracy is no different than feudalism.

  60. Ugly Canuck says:

    Andrew: property is a political construct: you add it to life and liberty, as if it pre-exists Society. It does not.
    Life and liberty I may have without Society: but to have property requires the society of others; social peace requires Laws to preserve the rights agreed amongst us to accrue to property: Laws require Courts to determine violations & “Upholders” to enforce sanctions and decisions; and that requires taxes and the “distortions” of which you complain.
    In fact all of the Laws limiting you in the use of your property exist solely because we have decided to accept property as a social construct.
    Property must bow to the needs of the living. It always has, and it always will.
    That property holders grouse about having to pay for the maintenance of the social structures needed to establish and protect their rights to property is unsurprising, as people often don’t see how very very dependent we are on each other to live. Particularly so, it seems, are the wealthy among us. That is, those who have benefited the most from society.
    After all “they made it all myself” they disingenuously claim. And labor themselves into early graves to leave large estates for the enjoyment of others.

  61. zuzu says:

    We cannot continue to discuss the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act without referencing Ben Stein in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (50 seconds in). ^_^

    Today’s example of responsible Defense Department spending:

    Vis-a-vis public choice theory and the principal-agent problem, a “fleecing of America” system has emerged where Wall Street / bankers convince the government to print money while the Military-Industrial complex spends it, and everyone directly involved along the way takes a cut, while the rest of us pay for it (even non-citizens through dollar hegemony).

    It’s like leaving the faucet on or a toilet running, only instead of wasting water it wastes human lives and prosperity.

    c.f. Decline of the Roman Empire

    The economy of the Empire was basically a Raubwirtschaft or plunder economy based on looting existing resources rather than producing anything new. The Empire relied on booty from conquered territories (this source of revenue ending, of course, with the end of Roman territorial expansion) or on a pattern of tax collection that drove small-scale farmers into destitution (and onto a dole that required even more exactions upon those who could not escape taxation), or into dependency upon a landed élite exempt from taxation. With the cessation of tribute from conquered territories, the full cost of their military machine had to be borne by the citizenry.

    And then there’s Niall Ferguson’s account of the breakdown of producer-consumer symbiosis between Germany and Britain respectively as the cause of The Great War, and how eerily similar the relationship between China and the USA is to that now. c.f. The Ascent of Money, La Guerre Future, The Six Months That Changed the World

    Growth can’t be “encouraged”; economics is not a study of incentives.

    Well, I was going to reply until I read this little gem. At some point, it becomes clear that someone’s views are so far gone that it’s not possible to affect them in any meaningful way

    To better illustrate this with history, check out Pandora’s Box by Adam Curtis.

    As to economic activity who cares if it is private or government spending?

    Because who has the knowledge of how much to spend on what (i.e. tacit knowledge) is the fundamental issue at hand for all economic activity.

    In contrast, the Government WANTS its Citizens to capture the benefit, not to re-capture it for itself. It has essentially different aims than the private-sector spender.

    But where does Government get its wealth from in the first place? This is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    All government spending is ultimately derived from taxes or inflation. It’s not a Magic Goodies Machine or a genie of the lamp (though perhaps it is like a monkey’s paw).

  62. ridl says:

    Odin @861 -

    “I would rather have all of you intelligent people out there working somewhere.”

    Great! Got an offer?

    Greg –

    You are the pick of the week in my ongoing one-person struggle against contempt as a useful tool in internet conversation.

    You have good points. For someone who’s claiming that those who disagree have too much of a black-and-white worldview, you do seem to fall back on oversimplified absolutes a bit as well, but as you keep pointing out, we’re all just humans here (except the cephalopod). So why do you feel it strengthens your interesting arguments to cover them a viscous layer of sneer and belittling derisiveness? Are you trying to advance this community’s general understanding, correct (what you see as) misconceptions and/or sloppy thinking, and maybe change a few minds, or are you just trying to make people who might (initially) disagree with you feel bad about themselves / ignore you / get angry and flame you back?

    For instance, you disagree with Zuzu’s reliance on metaphor to make a point. Fair enough. But do you really believe Zuzu is disingenuous enough to put forward an argument “while hoping that no one questions the fallacy of the original comparison in the first place”? I tend to think Zuzu wasn’t trying to dupe anyone into buying his ideas. People here tend toward sincere rather than shifty-eyed manipulators hoping nobody catches their scams. Or do you disagree?

    Seriously, I know being ultra-sarcastic and dismissive is fun and easy, but as the major form of discourse on the web it makes me cringe and get a little tummy nauseous. I like bb for the level of thought and intelligence (& fun) put into both the posts and generally the comments, as well as the (along a certain spectrum, clearly) diversity of viewpoints. I like that reading these viewpoints and making up my own mind. I like to see ideas intelligently and respectfully debated, and I want to see more of that. That’s why I’m asking you to reconsider your tone. You have good points, but contempt makes headaches, not conversation.

    That’s all. Thanks.

  63. zuzu says:

    Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
    Otter: Germans?
    Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.

  64. Anonymous says:

    > Perhaps increased military spending in WW II had something to do with “ending the Depression”?

    The Depression was ended because of the restructuring of the global economy. In the 1930s the USA had the world’s highest productive capacity, but it was locked out of most of the world’s markets by the old colonial empires of Europe. WWII broke up the old economic order and created one where the USA was unambiguously at the top. There so many markets available that Washington was even able to follow a deliberate policy which gave sections of the world market to West Germany and Japan, and thereby avoided the old economic rivalries which had given birth to 2 world wars.

    Nowadays today, the world market is completely oversaturated and it’s not likely that any new partition of markets will lead to a renewed boom on the same model as of old. What I’ve always found outraageous about Right-wing critics of FDR is that they like to falsely imply that if only FDR had butted out of the domestic economy the Depression would have ended sooner as businesses chose to invest. There’s no reason to believe that, as the Depression had been primarily caused by an oversaturated domestic market. But it’s also a bit simplistic to attribute the postwar boom to military spending. They played some role in stimulating things, but the expanded global market was what really allowed things to work.

  65. Ugly Canuck says:

    Actually I do not want to sound completely out of the ballpark on this.
    Others both more versed in economics, and more aware of US domestic politics than I (I can’t even get by the raw size of those military budgets! How many million each day?!), with a more ‘economic-libertarian’ bent, are perhaps more even-handed in their views of US politics:
    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/791-To-The-Republicans.html
    Nevertheless, the economics of 6000 million+ people is new territory for our species. General discussions of long-dead Leaders’ policies [which may or may not have been followed in practice (did a Republican Congress oppose or modify FDR's policies? Wreck any? Not implement any?)], and which were implemented far in the past, are not self-evidently useful, in any way, to the determination of present Policy.
    Except to distract….it should be noted, perhaps, that Corporations, like elephants, never forget….

  66. Andrew says:

    Andrew, I will assume the lack of response to my question in #176 means you dont’ have an answer.

    Because that’s a much more reasonable assumption than thinking I actually sleep at night.

  67. Brettspiel says:

    Keynes didn’t publish his book until 1936, as a reaction to and solution for the Great Depression.

  68. Joe MommaSan says:

    Don’t forget, Cory – these are the same people who tried to blame Bill Clinton (who took office in January of 1993) for Ruby Ridge (August 1992) as well as the 9/11 attacks, which happened almost nine months after he left office. Calendars are not their forte.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Well, I heard this guy on Olbermann and Maddow last night, and couldn’t believe my ears. Where was he in Civics class? And he’s a representative of our government to and for the people of Ohio! He needs to go back to school. Thankfully, not all Republicans are as uneducated as this guy! I’m not! I’m sure he’ll be eating enough crow today and in the weeks to come, so I’m not going to dump on him, but seriously, we need to be realistic and do some thorough fact-checking when we elect our representatives and senators. They are holding our futures in their hands. Thanks for posting this on boingboing.

  70. urshrew says:

    For people with a failed philosophy, history is just a game of Calvinball. Just change the rules whenever it fits.

  71. GregLondon says:

    The anarchists always commit the same fallacy.

    They come up with a minimum set of laws that declare what is and is not illegal, murder, rape, robbery, and then they say everything else people can control through their choice. They don’t want market regulation, FDA regulation, or even any kind of currency really other than barter (possibly using paper notes as standins for gold-barter). All the issues around the markets, the business influences, employment, is best left to individual choice. wave their hands, and it magically works out.

    except they have to force their idea on everyone else for it to work.

    So, I chose to continue the FDA. Anarchists want to take that away from me. They want to do something against my will.

    The thing is they’ve come up with their ideal set of laws for them, they hide the tyranny inherent in their system by cloaking it in some fallacy of “complete and total personal choice”, and then they push for something that would be against my will.

    Again, this is the problem with social structures.

    People don’t agree. And what do you do when people don’t agree? The anarchists say you can’t make anyone do what they don’t want to do, except for (insert their personal list of what can be regulated as immoral acts). And then they insist that everything else should be up to their own choice.

    Me, I’m more of a constitutionalist representational governmentalist type, I guess. I think there are certain fundamental human rights that can be put down on paper, that there is a structure for a government that puts checks and balances in place that can be put down on paper, and then there is some method for changing whats on paper.

    As far as I can tell, Anarchists and other Utopians want to get rid of the paper, and write the rules they want in stone, and then tell everyone that everything else is individula choice.

    It’s wish fullfillment fantasy, for one. And it is based off of a fundamental error that somehow I would choose to follow the rules they put down as rules, and that somehow all other rules step over some invisible boundary that they’ve declared offlimits.

    No thanks.

    not interested.

  72. millionpoems says:

    And! if you do enough damage to public education and the free press, no one will be there to call you on it.

  73. GregLondon says:

    To better illustrate this with history, check out Pandora’s Box by Adam Curtis

    This is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. several minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

    All I want to know is, are you an anarchist or libertarian? Something else? Or perhaps you rise above categorization?

  74. Cowicide says:

    @#105 POSTED BY RINDAN , FEBRUARY 12, 2009 11:05 AM

    > I wouldn’t point and laugh.

    I would.

    > I won’t venture a guess as to what the truth is.

    I will.

    Events leading up to the Great Depression took place before 1929; Roosevelt took office in 1933. That’s the truth.

    When fucktard stated, “ … Roosevelt did this, he put our country into a Great Depression …”

    It’s not a “venture” to say his statement was a mistruth. Actually, it’s quite factual to call him out as a fucktard with an agenda.

    > This is more of a Tesla vs Edison argument.

    Let’s look at that big, electrocuted elephant in the room right now… there really IS no Tesla vs Edison argument. Edison was an asshole, end of story.

    > anyone who declares that they know THE answer
    > is either full of shit or has a PhD in economics
    > and has studied this time period extensively.

    … or knows some basic history.

    > I am going to venture a guess that the vast
    > majority of liberals and libertarians on
    > BoingBoing (does BB even have Republicans)
    > who are arguing have not spent decades studying
    > the problem and are really just spewing points
    > to back up their ideology…
    > hence they are are full of shit.

    Steve Austria throws some bullshit out his ass in an attempt to push a right-wing agenda and therefore that makes all us heathens, librulz and udder riff-raff “full of shit”, is that correct?

    We can have a healthy debate about whether FDR helped or hurt the economy, but when we start out with a completely idiotic premise that he STARTED the fucking depression… it’s hard to have anything but a cancerous debate full of cancer with Steve Austria as the head tumor.

  75. mudil says:

    The first soup kitchen appeared in 1933 in New York City, during the Great Depression.

    It is no secret that we came out of Great Depression only around 1940. So, clearly FDR had to be responsible for something.

    And lets not forget about the biggest Ponzi scheme of all: FDR’s Social Security. When it falls, it will make the biggest pop.

    History’s judgment is not what Cory thinks today. Take Truman: one of the most unpopular presidents at his time, and now considered one of the greatest Democrats in office ever. Or take caricature-of-himself Clinton. So popular while in office, only to leave everyone in his wake loosing to the electorate: from Gore, who should have won by a huge margin, to Hillary never to become the first woman president.

  76. Ugly Canuck says:

    Buddy, there was great congressional opposition to any Lend-lease, etc. until the Japanese hit pearl.
    The Republicans came very close indeed to dissolving the US Army just before WW II started in Europe.
    And was Hitler pissed at the Japanese for dragging him into a war with America because of their existing Alliance!
    Anyway, Congress holds the purse-strings so any president has little to do with economic policy in the final analysis.
    But this Arkansas dickweed ought to honor FDR for his service as C-in-C , as victor of WWII and liberator of the Nazi death camps, rather than making up BS reasons to spit on his grave (which to me seems somehow un-American, almost pro-Nazi, but as a Canuck, what do I know?).
    And even if the dickweed was right about FDR’s role in the Depression (which he is not) he ought anyway to honor FDR’s memory for his service to his country, rather than dredge it up so as he can piss on it….

  77. Ugly Canuck says:

    Zuzu: taxes, inflation, and Government-owned mines and farms. Or is the State forbidden from owning assets that produce real goods?

  78. Ugly Canuck says:

    Wait…Austria is a rep from Arkansas, right?

  79. Andrew says:

    Greg: Nope, you can have the FDA. (Take the FDA, please!) Just don’t make me beholden to it.

  80. demidan says:

    Doomed! Doomed to repeat,(in their tiny mean worlds and minds).

  81. Snig says:

    In a hundred years they’ll be blaming Clinton for the 1930′s. Or blame FDR for Monica Lewinsky.

  82. Ugly Canuck says:

    Also, the Government could obtain better knowledge than any private corp can/may in many many areas eg. in Canada, health-care records.

  83. grimc says:

    @andrew

    Eat anything containing peanuts lately?

  84. Anonymous says:

    Andrew,

    I’ve read your lengthy post, but not the posts to which you are replying, so I understand that I may have missed much of your meaning due to lack of context.

    You say that people are the problem, but you appear to argue in favor of centralizing authority for economic decisions reducing the number of people who have real power over those decisions. How does that do anything but worsen the problem by making it more vulnerable to the foibles of a few power-oriented people? Is the “wisdom of crowds” a fallacy to you?

    You argue that all “-ists” back their ideologies as perfect, yet you grant nothing to the idea that many think their ideologies are merely more ethical. While a Communist might favor central ownership and control for what they perceive as the pragmatic benefits, wouldn’t it seem that, considering communism’s poor pragmatic record, that many might hang on to it for what they perceive as the ethical nature of forced economic equality?

    You favor the minimum wage, yet every study of the pragmatic effects of the minimum wage are a wash at best, a job-killer and economy-damager at worst. Are you favoring it because it appeals to your ethics or do you disagree with my unsourced summary that it fails to produce beneficial effects?

    Pretending that the minimum wage (or pick another regulation) were shown to have no beneficial effects, would you rather the law default to an uncontrolled state or remain in a controlled state that was shown to provide no measurable benefit?

  85. arlopickens says:

    Why didn’t they report the part where John Keynes asks FDR, “Why do you keep saying that everything is ‘heavy’? Is there something wrong with gravity in 1933?”

  86. Takuan says:

    got to remember,Austria ain’t talkin’ to you. For one thing, you can obviously read.

  87. Marshall says:

    And it’s this kind of statement that keeps the rest of us laughing at the Republican party. It’s the stupidity, stupid.

  88. Anonymous says:

    In a hundred years, they’ll say Obama emancipated teh Negroes.

  89. Anonymous says:

    It is also true that Ronald Reagan freed the slaves. It is true! I swear!

  90. Ugly Canuck says:

    FDR was a great C-In-C; foreign policy is the realm of Presidents.
    The economy, well, that’s Congress’ bailiwick; the Republicans came within a vote of disbanding the US Army in 1940.
    This guy is a horrible revisionist…

  91. Phikus says:

    If only the effects were laughable…

  92. Profession says:

    There should be some minimum knowledge requirements to hold U.S. Office…you know, like being at least slightly conversant with major events in the history of the country you are serving.

  93. Darcy Casselman says:

    Could it be that Rep. Austria is of the Austrian school?

  94. GregLondon says:

    Again, as with Noen, falling back on left-right politics is a tired canard. “Wings” are irrelevant; a false-dichotomy.The question is what system is coherent and internally reconcilable (in other words, deductively rational), and which are not.

    hoe lee fook. You just pointed me to a URL showing how soviet russia tried to engineer people to be “rational”, and what do you do but try to say that the left/right division of politics should be tossed out and replaced with a system that is coherent and internally reconcilable (in other words, deductively rational)????

    The point of politics is that it’s politics. The point of any human endeavor is that it is a human endeavor. You can come up with a new law of phyics and then objective testing will show whether that law is true or not.

    But people and any sort of social structure is subjective and is subject to social pressures. What gold bugs and laissez fair capitalists and stick-figure libertarians want to do is they want to remove the social element of some human endeavor.

    They don’t like humans being in control of an economic institution like the Federal Reserve, so they come up with some crackpot theory that money is nothing more than a representation of physical goods, therefore money could just as easily be substituted for Gold, therefore money shouldn’t be left to the whim of some human, no, sir, money should be tied to some fixed amoutn of gold in a vault somewhere. ANd then we won’t ahve to trust humans to screw it up.

    Free market capitalists don’t like government intervention so they come up with some crackpot theory that the economy is nothing more than a physical machine that if left to its own devices will always work out to the correct answer. GOvernment is portrayed as an invalid attempt to upset the perfect working system that magically operates on its own and independent of people.

    And yet any economy is ineviticably reduced to people. Economics, society, governments, they all are various social structure. They are people, not physics.

    And anyone who swears up and down that there is no such thing as society is not the sort of person whose opinion should be given the time of day on some social structure like an economy or a government or a society.

    There is a left/right dichotomy because that’s how people have split their votes. Part of that split is due to the fact that the system of election is a simple majority-vote-wins system. We coudl redesign the system to do condercet voting or something else, but that doesn’t suddenly remove the existence of political parties. it usually causes them to multiply.

    And yet, it always comes down to individual politicians beign put into power. Israel just had its elections, and Livni’s party won the most seats, but right now it looks like Netanyahu will form a coalition with the more right wing parties and he will become prime minister. It always comes down to one person being put into the office.

    There is no way to look at any social structure like the economy, domestic and foreign policy, and any other structure that involves people and have some sort of chemical test that will tell you if it is “coherent and internally reconcilable” and “deductively rational”.

    Anarchists who despise government will swear up and down that there is some way to do it, but it is a delusion, an oxymoron. One cannot remove the human element from the various processes that are fundamentally human interactions.

    People are not mechanical, chemical, or physical processes. You cannot come up with rules that perfectly describe human behaviour the way you can come up with laws to describe Newtonian physics. The police will always require some human element. Juries will always require human jurors. Laws will require human politicians. And politicians will always be voted in by human voters. You cannot break that chain unless you are willing to enforce a tyranny somewhere to remove the link back to human voters.

    Why should consumer choice work for everything but healthcare?

    allow me to slow this question down to truly capture the logical fallacy:

    Why should consumer choice work

    who ever said it worked other than laissez fair capitalists such as yourself?

    Me, I”m all for government intervention on certain universal levels. Minimum wage is an example. Everyone everywhere should be paid a minimum wage. Can’t operate a business paying your workers minimum wage? Too bad, the world is better without you.

    I like food to be regulated. I hope the peanut company executives go to jail for breaking government laws against contaminated food. Without any food regulation at all, I can imagine that companies would come up with some EULA disclaimer that says “by opening this container you assume all risk of disease from contamination” and then, hey, you know, if “choice” is king (and that’s what the laisse fair capitalists and anarchists say, its all about choice), then since you chose to open the food, you chose to the agreement, so you chose to assume the risk of contamination.

    Fuck that.

    And please, spare me the lecture your preparing in your mind right now of how an anarchistic society would enforce a “perfect” solution if we could just get government and people out of the way. You’re right back at the oxymoron I was talking about. People are the problem. But you can’t avoid people. ANy solution that is going to have any hope of working has to accept that people are the problem. That there is no such thing as a perfect individual, let alone a perfect population of individuals, to form your perfect anarchist society.

    If youre a communist, then you’ll argue that if we just remove capitalism, we’ll have the perfect society.

    If you’re a capitalist, then you’ll argue that if we just remove government intervention, then we’ll have a perfect society.

    If you’re a pacifist, then you’ll argue that if we just remove the military, then we’ll have a perfect society.

    If you’re a militant, then you’ll argue that if we just remove the weaklings and bleeding hearts, then we’ll have a pefect society.

    If you’re a rationalist, then you’ll argue that if we just remove the irrational, then we’ll have a perfect society.

    DID YOU NOTICE THE FUCKING PATTERN????

    Everyone defines “perfect” to mean “me”. And their solution is to remove “everyone not like me”.

    It is internally consistent, coherent, and completely morally fucked up beyond all recognition.

    There is no definition of “right” that removes the human saying the definition. We can distance ourselves from it through government or through other social structures, but humans are fundamentally tied to the definition of right. You cannot remove that connection.

    And the fact that you’re both a Free-Market worshiper and an Anarchist says this whole shpeel is a waste of my time. Once someone has convinced themselves they’ve come up with the solution to an impossible problem, it’s damn hard to get them to realize the truth.

    But for the others who happened to read this far, here goes:

    Imagine that you’re a guy who says he’s come up with a machine that produces free energy. Physicists will come out and say that perpetual motion is impossible. You’ll say it isn’t perpetual motion, but that you can extract energy from blah blah blah. The only problem, you say, is that you need better bearings, or high temperature superconductors, or some other thing that is not available with current technology, and won’t soon be.

    You’ve therefore created a situation in which you cannot be disproven. Until someone builds “blah”, you claim that no one can build your machine and disprove your theory.

    Free Market capitalists will claim that Free Market Capitalism will work if we tried it, adn that the problem is that we never actually tried pure free market capitalism. It’ll work, if we just have better bearings.

    Anarchists will claim that Anarchism will work. Previous failed attempts are dismissed because the anarchists claim they were real anarchism. THey claim anarchism will work if we impement pure anarchism. It’ll work, if we just have better bearings.

    I am sick of this complete and utter crap.

    laissez fair capitalism doesn’t work. Period. Anarchy doesn’t work. Period. Every real social system will have to deal with imperfect individuals, just like every real machine will have to deal with friction. There is no social utopia any more than there is a perpetual motion machine.

    WHich means all your left with is imperfect people in an imperfect society. The best you can hope for is some sort of system where the definition of “right” has plenty of checks and balances in it to keep any one person from abusing it too much.

    Sorry. That’s the best real social machine there is. It sucks but its the best we can possibly do.

  95. GregLondon says:

    Andrew: Greg: Nope, you can have the FDA. (Take the FDA, please!) Just don’t make me beholden to it.

    OK, so, now you and I disagree. We cannot both choose the result. Either we have the FDA or we don’t. Either way one of us has to have it done against their will.

    How do we resolve our disagreement?

    is there some fundamental human right that says the “correct” way to resolve this is to do nothing unless everyone agrees?

    What if we disagree on those human rights?

    THis is exactly the point I was making in #155. Utopists have some set of rules they believe are the set of rules to achieve utopia, and everything will just work out if we all just go along with those set of rules.

    Do you have a constitution for your free-market-anarchism system? Can it be modified? How do you modify it?

    if not, how is that a system of choice?
    If yes, how do you prevent people from choosing government intervention?

    What if the votes came in and 80% of the people said they want the government to regulate the markets? Does your Free-Market-Anarchism constitution prohibit those people from implementing such regulation?

    What if it’s 99%?

    What utopists usually have is not a workable constitution, but rather a set of clubhouse rules. If they own the clubhouse, then the rules will work. If you don’t like the rules you can leave. Starting your own clubhouse isn’t that big of a deal. But it isn’t a way to realistically rule a nation of people, manage an economy, or promote the welfare of the common good.

  96. zuzu says:

    Most historians date the beginning of the Great Depression at or shortly after the stock-market crash of 1929; Roosevelt took office in 1933.

    Does this also mean FDR and the New Deal had nothing to do with moving the United States out of the Great Depression? Isn’t that the popular myth as well?

    For an examination of the causes and effects of the Crash of 1929 and the Depression caused by Hoover from 1929 to 1932, check out America’s Great Depression, which you can read freely online.

    I’ve also heard some good things about The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes.

    As for how FDR made the Depression worse:

    In their understanding of the Depression, Roosevelt and his economic advisers had cause and effect reversed. They did not recognize that prices had fallen because of the Depression. They believed that the Depression prevailed because prices had fallen. The obvious remedy, then, was to raise prices, which they decided to do by creating artificial shortages. Hence arose a collection of crackpot policies designed to cure the Depression by cutting back on production.

    The goofiest application of the theory had to do with the price of gold. Starting with the bank holiday and proceeding through a massive gold-buying program, Roosevelt abandoned the gold standard, the bedrock restraint on inflation and government growth. He nationalized the monetary gold stock, forbade the private ownership of gold (except for jewelry, scientific or industrial uses, and foreign payments), and nullified all contractual promises–whether public or private, past or future–to pay in gold.

    Having hobbled the banking system and destroyed the gold standard, he turned next to agriculture. Working with the politically influential Farm Bureau and the Bernard Baruch gang, Roosevelt pushed through the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. It provided for acreage and production controls, restrictive marketing agreements, and regulatory licensing of processors and dealers “to eliminate unfair practices and charges.” It authorized new lending, taxed processors of agricultural commodities, and rewarded farmers who cut back production.

    The objective was to raise farm commodity prices until they reached a much higher “parity” level. The millions who could hardly feed and clothe their families can be forgiven for questioning the nobility of a program designed to make food and fiber more expensive. Though this was called an “emergency” measure, no President since has seen fit to declare the emergency over.

  97. Ugly Canuck says:

    Indeed health-care in Canada (or even Cuba)is far far better for the average Joe than what you’ve got in the USA, precisely because Gov can be better trusted in this sector, as its goal is to look to the welfare of its citizens as the outcome; rather than a larger $$ amount on the bottom line, as is the case with private-sector provision, as in the States.
    in addition, far less is expended checking up on whether your wallet qualifies you as “deserving” of a life-enhancing/saving procedure: the private sector model dictates that $$ means more to it than the Citizen’s life does.
    The public sector is not under that constraint of “profit as the only permissible goal”.
    If the gov is always so bad at everything, why is not the US Defense Department wholly private?

  98. Gilbert Wham says:

    I refer you to my question in the ‘bankers cant live on £500k/yr’ thread: WHY aren’t these people on fire already?

  99. Machineintheghost says:

    This guy sounds like a fool. But, to be fair, at least some real economists think FDR prolonged, rather than shortened, the Depression:

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx

  100. mdh says:

    Nope, you can have the FDA. (Take the FDA, please!) Just don’t make me beholden to it.

    Seriously? Try not to take offense here, but have you looked into other nations you might live in? I assume it is your right to stay here in the USA (under the oppressive boot of the FDA!!) but you might really be happier elsewhere. Just a thought.

    I see that gov’t oversight exists at the corners that would otherwise be cut “in the name of the shareholders”. Nearly every regulatory agency can tie its existence to a series of calamities in a previously unregulated industry.

    You’re not beholden to the FDA, you’re beholden to me. And to him, and us to you. God Bless America.

  101. Phikus says:

    And Reagan was the greatest president of all time, right?

  102. zuzu says:

    @64 GregLondon

    I offered some keywords useful for understanding my analytical perspective in this other thread.

    I also generally believe in technological determinism.

    I like Ivan Illich and James Burke.

    I also like David P. Reed, Manfred Clynes, Doug Engelbart, and most pioneers of cybernetics.

    (I should probably write this up more fully in Show Us Your Saints. I’d also have to add Syd Mead, Masamune Shirow, and Peter Chung.)

  103. Phil_A_Minion says:

    These folks have been constructing an alternate universe in which to live for a few decades now. Remember, they look down on the reality-based community.

  104. SKR says:

    ok Canuck, thats a better explanation. I guess a should have prefaced violence with legitimate in which case the US government would have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within its borders, as well as a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence in it’s name beyond its borders. I guess I was a litle glib as well ;P. And no, I’m not choosing bullets. I am however afraid we have gone a little off-topic.

  105. GregLondon says:

    Anyone mention the Business Plot yet?

    A bunch of laissez fair capitalists (a who’s who list of capitalists of teh day) who contacted a retired Marine general and promised him troops if he would lead a coup against FDR’s government intervention?

  106. Ugly Canuck says:

    ” Bernard Baruch gang” : interesting choice of words.
    Perhaps increased military spending in WW II had something to do with “ending the Depression”?
    Why then did US military spending never decrease, only increase, after WWII?
    Do you think that the cumulative total of US Gov military spending post WW II has been a mis-allocation of investment capital?

  107. jimbuck says:

    Austria’s been watching Lost apparently.

  108. j9c says:

    Good idea Takuan!

    This one goes out to the Honorable U.S. Representative Steve Austin, Republican from the State of Ohio:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nIlFsERnmk

  109. Ugly Canuck says:

    yeah greg, GWB’s grand-dad prescott bush (a Master of the Universe in his own right) was one of its bagmen, IIRC.

  110. GregLondon says:

    Being a plumber is more difficult, in terms of fluid dynamics calculations, than most people realize. Maybe it’s not comparable to neurosurgery (which is an extreme example), but certainly to general practitioners which is what most people need.

    Thank you, Doctor Zuzu, for determining objectively what most people need. By removing the AMA and handing down this fiat-derived truth, we shall finally achieve medical utopia.

    At least for as long as you maintain your tyrannical grip against the forces of medical evils, and as long as you don’t succumb to bribery, conflicts of interest, and as long as you don’t die from old age and mortality.

    At which point, who will we turn to to hand down the real truth about what people need medically??? WHO indeed? It’s too bad taht we can’t somehow magically remove people from the equation. But it looks like we’re stuck with someone telling us what people need medically, and well, damn you society, but we’re stuck with an imperfect system.

  111. mdh says:

    I thought Al Gore invented the Great Depression?

  112. Timefishblue says:

    Winston Smith is going to be working overtime tonight.

  113. Ugly Canuck says:

    You have to give your fellow man credit, in order to have a credible system of governance.
    No consent of the governed means no legitimate government.
    It all runs on trust. Trust that pilots can land the plane you’re on. Trust that the surgeaon knows what he’s doing. Trust that those in charge of distributing (spending if you rather) tax $$ do so in a way beneficial to society, and to humanity.
    This credit crisis is all about a lack of trust….considering how the republicans ran first the Congress (yeah let’s impeach!)and then the presidency (yeah let’s start wars and let them speculate on oil!), such a crisis was inevitable…can we trust republicans not to start a war? They seem to start one every time they hold the presidency…

  114. zuzu says:

    Zuzu: taxes, inflation, and Government-owned mines and farms. Or is the State forbidden from owning assets that produce real goods?

    No, but then government has an economic calculation problem to deal with.

    Also, the Government could obtain better knowledge than any private corp can/may in many many areas eg. in Canada, health-care records.

    The implication here is that knowledge is supply-side when in fact it’s demand-side. (Which is to say that providers make a best effort to guess at what customers will want, but ultimately it’s customers who decide what needs to be produced and what isn’t.)

    So, regarding health care, the ones with the most knowledge are the people seeking medical care themselves. c.f. consumer driven healthcare, morphological freedom

    Beware the creeping evil of Professionalism.

  115. robulus says:

    Look. I’m no economistics-guy, but….

    KITTENS!

  116. zuzu says:

    And Reagan was the greatest president of all time, right?

    Reagan took credit for what was actually done by the awesome (yet popularly reviled) Jimmy Carter — specifically the “tough medicine” of appointing Volcker as chairman of the Fed and choking out inflation*. (Now Volcker is an economic advisor to Obama). Carter also operated the smallest Federal government while still creating the Departments of Education and Energy (as if those topics were important to national well-being :p ).

    If there’s any real hope of change with the Obama administration, he’ll act more like Carter and less like FDR.

    (*Volcker putting an end to stagflation by contracting the money supply has been widely interpreted as recognizing the failure of Keynesianism, and the confusion of correlation as causation between inflation and employment. Funny how soon that’s been forgotten; the “United States of Amnesia” as Gore Vidal would say.)

  117. noen says:

    @64 GregLondon

    Zuzu is a Paultard and has spent a great deal of energy in the past defending Ron Paul and his delusions.

    Shorter Zuzu:
    “I can prove this by linking to Wikipedia. I win!”

  118. buddy66 says:

    Canuck,

    I’m a Canadian hillbilly (Canada and Tennessee), and during the early years of the war my Canuck family chafed at the USA for not entering the struggle; the hillbilly half thought it was none of their (our) business but were FDR loyalists and, you know, whatever…

    I remember the arguments and the fireside chats and the Willkie challenge, but I am truly embarrassed to learn that the GOP came that close to disbanding the Army. I knew what isolationism was, of course, and even the names of a few of them, but I’m going to have to check your claim of their being “one vote” away from an obvious act of insanity. Why do I not know that? (the ghost of Dr.Johnson answers, “Ignorance, sir, simple ignorance”) I was only ten years old but even I knew what Hitler was up to.

    After FDR won the 1940 election the factories in Flint and Detroit started firing up again. My father and uncles went back to a 40-hour work week. There was a peacetime draft and a clever lend-lease program with Britain. Defense monies were allocated. Rumors of war were in the air. Finally, FDR did everything but shit in Tojo’s hat, resulting in the attack at Pearl Harbor.

    My point is that this resulted in HUGE deficit spending. The greatest in our history. My question is, Should we view the current economic crisis as a comparable national emergency?

  119. Ugly Canuck says:

    Hey Zuzu you were wrong about inflation vs. deflation last year, and now you seem to think that FDR thought that prices were a leading rather than a trailing indicator, and that their manipulation and control (a la Nixon?) could increase production: but FDR was no Monetarist, manipulating the price level of credit, believing that that would in itself affect production:(though it is easy enough to start a recession/wreck an economy using that tool, as Volker proved).
    Monetarist/Austrian economic policy has shown numerous times that it is capable of hobbling economies and impeding ‘excessive” growth (ie growth that leads to demands for higher wages); it has never shown that it can encourage growth/production in a real economy.

  120. GregLondon says:

    Nearly every regulatory agency can tie its existence to a series of calamities in a previously unregulated industry.

    Shh. You might scare away the emergence of spontaneous order with talk like that.

  121. rpl says:

    Hate has nothing to do with it

    See, I love how pointing out that something like this is so incorrect seems to lead to the assumption that it is merely hating on one side or the other.

    “Two Minutes’ Hate” was my response to all the 1984 allusions in the preceding comments. A lot of them seemed to have missed the irony of invoking Orwell while engaging in a senseless outpouring of invective against the Bad Guys. As another commenter observed, all this facetious “time travel” business didn’t really advance the policy debate any; it just gave people who were already convinced that Republicans have the monopoly on stupidity a chance to vent a little spleen.

    I grant your point that it’s important to correct factual errors, particularly when they are perpetrated by powerful elected officials. I submit, however, that the tone of this post makes it highly unlikely that fact checking was its primary purpose. Moreover, ignoring the real argument, that New Deal policies worsened and lengthened the Depression, seems a little dishonest.

  122. veritasnoctis says:

    The stock market crash of 1929 marked the beginning of a recession. Hoover’s interventionist (i.e., not free market) policies turned it into a depression. And FDR, who campaigned against Hoover’s interventionist policies but then continued and expanded them and invented new ones, turned the depression into a Great one by deepening and prolonging it. Historians go back and date the beginning of the Great Depression to 1929, but that doesn’t mean FDR’s policies aren’t a significant reason for the Great Depression. FDR’s domestic policies did not get us out of the Great Depression. And the stock market crash happened in the first place because of government intervention into the economy, not free market policies; fundamentally it was primarily caused, as our current economic crisis was primarily caused, by the easy credit policies of the Federal Reserve (a government corporation) that fueled an artificial boom, a bubble that eventually had to burst.

  123. zuzu says:

    Perhaps increased military spending in WW II had something to do with “ending the Depression”? Do you think that the cumulative total of US Gov military spending post WW II has been a mis-allocation of investment capital?

    * Military Keynesianism

    All World War 2 really did in terms of economic recovery was kill off the unemployed population. :(

    Why then did US military spending never decrease, only increase, after WWII?

    * Military-Industrial Complex

  124. HeruRaHa says:

    There’s significant evidence that the only way FDR prolonged anything was by not being Keynesian *enough* — look at Sweden’s recovery.

    Here’s a handy timeline for those who don’t know history (aka Republicans)
    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/Timeline.htm

  125. GregLondon says:

    You were emitting some code words that I hear from libertarians and anarchists. and you say you’re a Free Market Anarchist. Good to know.

    From wikipedia, free market capitalism is “an individualist anarchist[δ] philosophy that harmonizes the abolition of the state with a free market by proposing to replace the monopoly of force held by government with a competitive market of private institutions offering police protection, justice, and other defense services[2] – “the private allocation of force, without central control.”[3] Providers of force would be paid for voluntarily by those who wish to receive the services rather than individuals being taxed without their consent and assigned a particular provider without their consent. The belief, among free-market anarchists, is that this competition thus will tend to produce cheaper and higher quality legal and police services”

    That’s pretty much all I need to know.

    From your code words, I was fairly certain that you were so far out there in your econmic beliefs that there would be no point in engaging you in some sort of conversation so long as the topic is economics.

    This pretty much confirms it for me.

  126. Ugly Canuck says:

    Zuzu: All they know is that they are in pain: the customer in health care never knows best. And you shall be a customer, sooner or later.

  127. Phikus says:

    Steve Austria: Ass-trumpet. A man barely alive…

    “Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the ideology. We have the capability to make the world’s worst mnemonic man. Steve Austria will be that man. Righter than he was before. Redder. Wronger. Crasser.”

    Cowicide: You’re my hero of the day!

    Greg: Take a break. We’re runnin’ out of room on teh internets…

  128. zuzu says:

    Indeed health-care in Canada (or even Cuba)is far far better for the average Joe than what you’ve got in the USA, precisely because Gov can be better trusted in this sector, as its goal is to look to the welfare of its citizens as the outcome; rather than a larger $$ amount on the bottom line, as is the case with private-sector provision, as in the States.

    Medical cost inflation has run rampant both under socialist systems and insurance-based systems. It’s the same moral hazard as the overproduction of credit in the current banking cataclysm.

    The question here is not about coverage, but How do we make health care affordable?

    At large, we don’t have this problem in other market sectors for necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. It’s the Medical-Industrial complex working with bankers (who underwrite the insurance companies) who have ruined healthcare in the United States — again, to funnel money creation from the government into GE Healthcare and Big Pharma.

  129. Ugly Canuck says:

    The Fed Reserve is a private entity.

  130. mdh says:

    Finally, FDR did everything but shit in Tojo’s hat, resulting in the attack at Pearl Harbor.

    bless you Buddy.

  131. mdh says:

    MUDIL – It is no secret that we came out of Great Depression only around 1940. So, clearly FDR had to be responsible for something.

    The secret is FDR was responsible for preventing the economy from taking down our collective experiment in democracy. Shhhhh. Whoever taught you history doesn’t want you to believe that secret.

  132. zuzu says:

    All they know is that they are in pain: the customer in health care never knows best. And you shall be a customer, sooner or later.

    I’ve been a customer. The problem is that doctors get their customers referred to from insurance companies, and that prices are too high.

    The cost of medical professionals needs to drop like a stone down to the level of car mechanics, electricians, and plumbers.

    This would require gutting the regulatory capture by the AMA and of the FDA, however.

  133. Ceronomus says:

    The sad thing is, there are enough poorly educated people in the US who are going to hear things like this repeated over and over and are going to believe them.

  134. zuzu says:

    You just pointed me to a URL showing how soviet russia tried to engineer people to be “rational”, and what do you do but try to say that the left/right division of politics should be tossed out and replaced with a system that is coherent and internally reconcilable (in other words, deductively rational)????

    Another way to put this would be: dumb networks. Global society is merely another such system.

    Individual people are complex “black boxes”, but a social system needs to be simple and “dumb”. This is what makes a heterogeneous massive network such as the Internet work, for example.

    Me, I”m all for government intervention on certain universal levels. Minimum wage is an example. Everyone everywhere should be paid a minimum wage. Can’t operate a business paying your workers minimum wage? Too bad, the world is better without you.

    Price floors cause unemployment.

    Free market capitalists don’t like government intervention so they come up with some crackpot theory that the economy is nothing more than a physical machine that if left to its own devices will always work out to the correct answer. GOvernment is portrayed as an invalid attempt to upset the perfect working system that magically operates on its own and independent of people.

    It’s not “magic” (or perfect), just emergence / spontaneous order.

    This is actually a “distributed vs. centralization” argument in disguise, methinks.

    Thank you, Doctor Zuzu, for determining objectively what most people need.

    Most people need GPs rather than specialists such as neurosurgeons. I think this is rather empirically evident.

    But it looks like we’re stuck with someone telling us what people need medically, and well, damn you society, but we’re stuck with an imperfect system.

    The issue at hand here is the privileged position of licensing doctors and medical technologies… That hiring a doctor is anything more than paying for advice, or that by force of law a prescription is required for drugs or implants I choose to put into my body.

    Worse are the unseen outcomes of these regulations where people die due to lack of access or affordability, but are instead chalked up as dying of a disease or malady.

  135. mdh says:

    and therefore that makes all us heathens, librulz and udder riff-raff “full of shit”, is that correct?

    Only if we keep listening.

  136. Ugly Canuck says:

    I think that current American capitalism looks much more like Mussolini’s economics, coddling and giving taxpayers’ cash to “too big to fail” banks and corporations, rather than FDR’s. Fascist, in all but its views on race/religion.

  137. Ugly Canuck says:

    Jeez this all sounds like the old “Communism failed cause it was not true communism” bullshit – “Capitalism did not fail, we’ve never had Capitalism”.
    LOL. All the crap brought on by 30 years plus of right-wing policies – “the problem is that we were not right-wing enough”…
    You guys who would let the poor and sick “take care of themselves” ought to screen Effi Briest.
    Heartless scum, hiding under a shell stiffened by free-market theology…

  138. zuzu says:

    Hey Zuzu you were wrong about inflation vs. deflation last year,

    Are you referring to inflation/deflation (incorrectly) as merely changes in aggregate prices? Can you be more specific with regard to what you think I was wrong about?

    it has never shown that it can encourage growth/production in a real economy.

    Growth can’t be “encouraged”; economics is not a study of incentives.

    The economic question at hand is epistemological: How do individual humans, as the agents of action in reducing scarcity, receive accurate information (i.e. price signals) to act on to do so in a timeframe which is useful for prioritization of existing resources (including time) toward that goal of mitigating scarcity. (Hence economics as the “dismal science”.)

    Although Hayek’s Use of Knowledge in Society is the “Cliffs Notes” for this; the comprehensive ground-up construction is the purpose of Mises’ magnum opus of Human Action.

  139. Anonymous says:

    #13, this graph, while necessarily simplistic, would beg to differ.

  140. RedShirt77 says:

    FDR=DR WHO

  141. Phikus says:

    Cerenomus: Yes, sadly, this is not the first time I have heard FDR getting blamed for the entirety of the Great Depression of late, prefaced with something like “History has clearly shown…” The echo chamber is hard at work on this latest revisionism.

  142. GregLondon says:

    The cost of medical professionals needs to drop like a stone down to the level of car mechanics, electricians, and plumbers. This would require gutting the regulatory capture by the AMA and of the FDA, however.

    Somehow, I don’t think that the reason a neurologist is paid more than a plumber has less to do with the AMA and more to do with the several years of medical school and experience needed to be a neurologist versus what it takes to become a plumber.

  143. Anonymous says:

    yeah. well that guy’s a cominest. ding-dangy commies got us all on the run with there ideas an’ histery an’ such….

  144. zuzu says:

    I think that current American capitalism looks much more like Mussolini’s economics, coddling and giving taxpayers’ cash to “too big to fail” banks and corporations, rather than FDR’s. Fascist, in all but its views on race/religion.

    One interesting counter-argument I’ve heard from those who support government intervention is this:

    If a business is “too big to fail”, does that not also mean they’re too big to survive and should be broken up as Ma Bell was?

    Why are they receiving government bailouts instead of bankruptcy reorganization, if not because this is merely thinly veiled Fascism / Corporatism?

    (I’ve also appreciated the point made by others that all government bailouts are a form of nationalization. But take a look at the shape of this particular brand of nationalization — this government-business partnership.)

  145. Phikus says:

    Greg: Let me qualify my remark with, after I got through all that, I agree with it. Perhaps you could have said it with a few less paragraphs, however. Yes, it could be a perfect comment if we got rid of those pesky redundant paragraphs… =D

  146. Bemopolis says:

    #65: So you support your argument with a link to Uncyclopedia, a parody encyclopedia site? Really, Mudil?

    Just, just, you know, fucking FAIL.

  147. El Stinko says:

    FDR must have used Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Time Machine.

  148. Blaatann says:

    @GregLondon: Whatever else you have written, for post number #130, I nominate and declare you my Hero. I don’t think I could ever describe my thoughts on free-market proponents better than this..

  149. GregLondon says:

    7 posts from you on this thread in a single day, and they stop just as I ask you what should be a very short and simple question. Here it is in simple yes/no form:

    can you modify your “constitution”?

    If so, is it by some method that eventually comes back to voter input?

    that last one could be that the voters vote for politicians and politicians do the ammendments, ro people vote directly, it just has to come down to every voter has some sort of influence on the outcome, no matter how indirect.

    you’ve basically got three choices:
    1: no, 2: na
    1: yes 2: no
    1: yes 2: yes

    shouldn’t take too long to answer.

  150. davedorr9 says:

    @21:

    Quoting widely discounted economic theories repeatedly does not make your point stronger.

    Also, from the article you reference on Military Keynesianism:

    “There have been no clear-cut historical examples of military Keynesianism in action.”

    I think we better stick to the point:

    Despite the misunderapprehension of the quoted gentleman in the article, FDR did not cause the first 4 years of the great depression. At best, some theorists (a quarter) might argue he lengthened it. However, the majority of theorists throughout the world agree that the stimulus provided by the New Deal was a positive influence. The main concern by most by the tariffs.

  151. okiedokie says:

    Maybe we should look to Joe Biden for direction and history lessons. After all he said on CBS news
    “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’” — Sen. Joe Biden.

    Yup, FDR, in 1929, before he was president, got on TV, before it was widely available and addressed the nation.

    Dumbass is not the sole property of one party.

  152. Ugly Canuck says:

    Buddy i wish i had a link. It stuck in my mind, as showing how completely 180 degrees the Republicans have been on the issue of military spending over a period of only fifty years (it was in the 90s that I came across the ‘one-vote-away’ story.) The Congress routinely refused military requests for more money throughout the 1930s. Hence the need for the massive and quick build-up once the need became obvious.
    IIRC older folks back in the 70s would say that throughout the 30s the Gov claimed inability to help people much, due to a ‘lack of resources’. But when war came, hey presto! no shortage of resources was apparent at all…this made working people suspicious that those resources had indeed existed in the 30s but were simply denied to them…due to a political decision not borne of necessity. Call it a “lack of political will amongst the leaders of society to do what was right for the majority of Americans”.
    After WW II all developed societies had to institute social programs as the old “we cannot afford it” excuse for government inaction and lack of help for average people had been proved a lie, by the ease with which the resources used in the build-up of the military had been found.
    And had the US military been properly wound down after WW II, the USA could have afforded to provide its citizens, generations of them, much better standards of living (it certainly could have brought in a bespoke system of publicly-financed health care) than the not-so-bad one it achieved in spite of the horrific waste of taxpayers $$ overseen the Federal War Department – oh wait they changed the name, didn’t they? (I wonder why….I guess on that point the Founding Fathers’ wisdom was found to be lacking…)

  153. Ugly Canuck says:

    Ah Greg that’s good to know: the New Feudalists, I call them. ‘Cause that is what they are describing…a fantasy world.
    We Canucks deal with doctors, not insurance companies, for our essential health care. Why should insurance cos. get a cut? Single-payer Gov insurance does it better & cheaper, with better outcomes, as measured by patient well-being.
    And as an added benefit, our insurance cos. then have less to gamble with, so tend not to need to be bailed out by taxpayers a la AIG.
    BTW the existence of present or past mis/bad-government is no argument at all against government.
    Right wing policies have not resulted in disaster because they were “mis-implemented”, nor because all gov is by its very essence bad, nor because the policies were not “right-wing enough”.
    My friend Occam says it’s the right-wing policies themselves that have caused the problem.
    May I suggest that in order to change the outcome perhaps the best solution is to change policy?

  154. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    And then… The Universe Exploded!!!!!
    Blame FDR for that!

  155. fungstyle says:

    It amazes me how most people can’t separate politicians from economic principles. FDR obviously didn’t single-handedly cause the Great Depression but, as other commenters have noted, it seems obvious that the actions of his administration created the entitled sentiment that is in large part responsible for the current crisis. The entitlement system in the U.S. and the mentality that we “deserve” all of our finery because we “work so hard” are the causes for our financial woes. As a nation, we spend rather than save, we take rather than give, and we expect the government to pick up the pieces when anything goes wrong. Hence, our current situation.

    Finding a balance between spending and saving are essential, for individuals and for governments. America has not had that balance since the 1930′s, and probably before then.

  156. GregLondon says:

    However your right to the FDA ends where my rights begin

    Says who?

    This is exactly what I was talking about when I said clubhouse rules.

    You simply asserted something to be a right. I disagree with your assertion. How do we settle it?

    Does your clubhouse rules have some means of settling disagreements of what is and is not a fundamental right? Or is it somehow written in stone?

    Say you insist on private police, fire departments, ambulances, and school teachers. you refuse to pay for any of it to public taxes on the grounds that it is your “right” to not be forced into such an evil thing.

    say I disagree and think taxes, even taxes against your will, are legal.

    How do we settle the disagreement?

    As for your “clubhouses” question … I know that you have no interest in learning

    If you can’t explain how we settle a simple disagreement and instead have to “recount the literature” to me, then I’d say you have only confirmed that you’re talking about nothing more than “clubhouse rules” not a national constitution.

    Situation: You don’t want to pay taxes for “blah”. Me and a bunch of my friends are pretty sure that “blah” will only do good if everyone does it. Me and my associates think everyone should pay taxes for “blah” because it is a win-win thing and everyone benefits. and say you refuse to comply with “blah” or pay taxes with “blah”.

    how do we decide what we as a “nation” would do?

    And yes, “you can’t make me do anything I don’t want” is clubhouse rules. That does not suffice for a “constitutional process”.

    As an aside, do Anarchists believe that there is such a thing as “win-win”? To me, something like FDIC is win-win. it stops consumer panic, whcih stops bank runs, which protects the economy, and doesn’t cost much compared to what everyone gets out of it. But some might oppose paying taxes for FDIC and argue that they shouldn’t be forced to pay for other people’s panic attacks, no matter how much damage it causes the economy.

    A) associations should be voluntary, B) most agreements between mutually consenting parties are just great, but C) there are a very few ways in which people mustn’t “voluntarily” waive their rights

    Just so you know, A, B, and C are your “constitution”. Are you saying that these are irrefutable laws that cannot be modified? There is no way to ammend these? Even if two-thirds of the states were to agree to change it? It is written in stone?

    Do you have any constitutional ammendment process such that we as a nation can change these rules? Or did you simply hand them down from on high, and the rest of us need to abide by your infinite wisdom?

    If 99% of the population want to change these rules, and you don’t want to change them, exactly how do we as a nation decide whether we can morally, legally change them?

    Seriously. I’m asking. I don’t need you to recount the literature. I just need a basic proces. Either there is some sort of voting process. Or there is some special committee of wise and benevolant anarchists. or maybe people vote for who is on the committee and the committee decides. Or there is no process and these rules are unchangable, end of story. Or… something else?

    You tell me.

    And it shouldn’t be too terribly difficult to explain. The entire process for ammending the US constitution is explained in Article 5 in a single paragraph.

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

    so, say I’m a citizen born into your Free-Market-Anarchism nation and say I want to modify clause (A) to allow taxes to be forced on people to pay for “blah”, how would I go about it?

  157. zuzu says:

    Somehow, I don’t think that the reason a neurologist is paid more than a plumber has less to do with the AMA and more to do with the several years of medical school and experience needed to be a neurologist versus what it takes to become a plumber.

    And why is medical school so expensive? If there’s so much demand for medical care, why aren’t there more schools being created to meet demand, competing to lower tuition rates? Why aren’t doctors bidding each other down to sane levels of cost? (Oh, because the AMA acts as a union to keep doctors artificially scarce, and their salaries bloated, perhaps.)

    Not to mention that about 80% of medical care is just scanning/diagnostics and drugs. I understand the argument for why surgery has significant expense, but surgery is also the option of last resort.

    But seeing a general practitioner, getting vaccines and drugs, CT or MRI scans, maybe having a bone set or stitches done — most of the medical care people need and receive, are vastly overpriced and bureaucratic.

  158. odin861 says:

    Yeah, man they are all so stupid! I really wish everyone was as great and smart as the president!

  159. SKR says:

    [blockquote}If the gov is always so bad at everything, why is not the US Defense Department wholly private?[/blockquote]

    Because the government maintains a monopoly on violence. Besides that, do you really want to go down that road considering the $600 hammers and military adventurism?

  160. Ugly Canuck says:

    yeah Zuzu health care in cuba is free.
    Do you think if Cuba were allowed to sell its sugar to the USA that their system could even be better?

  161. veritasnoctis says:

    The Federal Reserve is a government-sponsored enterprise.

  162. mdh says:

    zuzu – you’re ignoring malpractice insurance, which hasn’t helped with cost at all.

  163. okiedokie says:

    There are also some scholars that state our country (and the world) entered a depression in 1929 (as well as in 1920). However, the actions taken by the US government pushed us into a greater depression while the rest of the world was getting out of it by 1937.

    We had a Great Depression, the rest of the world had a depression. Is that due to our need for hyperbole or was it actually worse?

    Either way, I don’t think this statement by the Rep indicates that he thinks that FDR time traveled or caused the stock market crash.

    Biden’s statement shows less grasp of history than the statement that led to this post.

  164. ridl says:

    @65, Mudil –

    I’ve always thought one of the reasons Gore lost (there are many, and Nader is a minor strawman – none of us better ever vote Green again ever or the universe will end! the New York Times said so!) was his distancing himself from Clinton – he wouldn’t even let the man campaign for him, because his advisers told him Clinton (who was still as freakishly charismatic as ever and very popular with the Democratic base) would for sure sink his sure thing. Hmmm.

    foetus@52 – Weird reasoning to put that giant crime against our great-grandchildren of a “bailout” from last winter all on the Bush cabal, when the “opposition party” was in control of congress. Pull the wool over your own eyes! Don’t let the Democrats do it for you!

    I’ve enjoyed the dissection of “economics” as a science – I get a lot out of thinking of it as a very strangely skewed school of history, divorced enough from reality that it’s allowed heinous ideas like “let food rot rather than feed starving babies” actually determine policy. For decades.

  165. rpl says:

    The sad thing is, there are enough poorly educated people in the US who are going to hear things like this repeated over and over and are going to believe them.

    Probably so, but it most likely won’t be the people you are thinking of. This is the kind of thing that gets repeated by true-believers for the other side long after it’s been forgotten by everyone else. “ZOMG, Rep. Austria thinks FDR caused a crash that happened before he took office.” He doesn’t, of course; most likely he thinks that FDR prolonged and deepened what was already a nasty recession, turning it into a Great Depression that would be remembered for generations, but that message will be (probably already has been) lost.

    Political junkies on both sides of the aisle have a whole litany of these quotable quotes, which is part of why politics more resembles a football game than a policy debate. I’d have liked to see someone like Cory bring a little more reason to the discussion and a little less sophistry, but whatever. Go, Blue Team!

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled Two Minutes’ Hate…

  166. Ugly Canuck says:

    Zuzu:
    Do the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Kuwait/Iraq raise their revenues by taxation or inflation?
    No, they own oil wells.

  167. Phikus says:

    Okiedokie@29: It was a flub. He retracted it. How many on the other side of the aisle:

    A) Admit when they are at fault?

    B) Correct it?

    Nice attempt at spin, but idiocracy still remains quite the purview of the Republican party right now.

  168. zuzu says:

    My friend Occam says it’s the right-wing policies themselves that have caused the problem.

    Again, as with Noen, falling back on left-right politics is a tired canard. “Wings” are irrelevant; a false-dichotomy. The question is what system is coherent and internally reconcilable (in other words, deductively rational), and which are not.

    Why should consumer choice work for everything but healthcare?

    Ultimately “single-payor” (i.e. socialized / universal healthcare) is justified based on a presumption of cost — that healthcare is expensive and many people cannot afford it — without asking the diagnostic question of why is healthcare expensive? (Hint: There’s very little “inherently” expensive to justify the exorbitant costs most health consumers incur, either directly or through government subsidy. Mostly it’s because healthcare is a heavily protected industry.)

  169. Ugly Canuck says:

    SKR: Well,since its the Defense department not the Police department, we are discussing the projection of violence beyond America’s borders, no monopoly there…

  170. Anonymous says:

    #65 “Mudil” is a description of how you think.

    Social Security is a Ponzi scheme? Are you really that brainwashed? Where have you been for the last year?

    After what happened to everyone’s 401k’s this year, Social Security looks like a solid rock, while plans to privatize Social Security looks like the biggest Ponzi scheme in all human history.

    Please take your lunatic propaganda and social Darwinism someplace more suitable to your values. I hear Iraq is nice – the government is powerless and you can own all the guns you want. Sounds like Utopia!

  171. GregLondon says:

    Actually, i have a way to make free market anarchism work. We just need to put some permanent magnets in a circular arrangement and…

    and if you pay the licensing fee, I’ll tell you the rest.

  172. Andrew says:

    Noen:

    Free market theory is based on some wacky assumptions – if those assumptions aren’t true, then the whole theory crashes to the ground.

    Two of those assumptions are:

    • People have perfect knowledge of the value of what they’re buying or selling
    • People never base buying or selling decisions based on what other people are doing.

    Utterly untrue, of course. The strawman version of market theory rests on these assumptions. The real deal, on the other hand, spends more time than you would ever believe on uncertainty and the consequences of uncertainty. Uncertainty, mistakes, and failures are totally unavoidable — it just so happens that free markets are the best mechanism that exists for getting uncertainty as near as possible to the minimum, of discouraging mistakes, and of enabling the system to go on despite failures. Any centralized/controlled/etc. method is bound to be less efficient and ultimately less stable because in the end there is no way to refute Hayek on that point.

    If you look at this blog it seems to me that it’s always been about spontaneous order — flashmobs, creation without intellectual monopoly, web 2.0, everything about people coming together and meeting their needs better than any “central authority” could ever do it for them — until the economy comes into play and then it’s a complete 180. When it’s the economy we say that spontaneous order is a failure and centralization is the only option. Bullshit.

  173. Ugly Canuck says:

    No that is not the question, the question is which set of policies (such set including “adopt no policy” as one possibility) a government ought to pursue in order to maximize the well-being of its citizens.
    As its real-world, inductive not deductive reasoning is the order of the day.
    There is nothing “consumer-choice” about health-care: you see a doctor because you have to.

  174. zuzu says:

    Do the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Kuwait/Iraq raise their revenues by taxation or inflation?
    No, they own oil wells.

    And the Soviet Union exported grain?

    I concede the point you’re making about taxes and inflation, but any shortfalls in sustainability/solvency (vis-a-vis economic calculation problem) of a nationalized enterprise are still made up by taxes and inflation. I think we’re getting into institutional economics waters there.

    yeah Zuzu health care in cuba is free.

    No, it’s subsidized. TANSTAAFL.

  175. Brainspore says:

    In my book FDR’s most brilliant economic strategy was the foresight he showed when WWII was starting to wind down and he realized that untold thousands of American troops were going to need new work soon. He set in motion what would later become the G.I. bill, investing millions to send those troops to college. That more than anything else is the real reason for our postwar prosperity.

  176. Ugly Canuck says:

    Well subsidized: better that, than bankers’ bonuses…

  177. noen says:

    Economists As Creationists Who Have Never Heard Of Evolution

    “One of Brad DeLong’s commentators compares what’s going on to the discovery that some eminent biologists are creationists, but it’s actually worse than that: it’s like discovering that some eminent biologists have never heard of the theory of evolution and the concept of natural selection.” — Paul Krugman

    Some Capital-Theoretic Fallacies of Austrian Economics

    Summary: This paper challenges some of the very premises of the Austrian theory of the business cycle, via a criticism of Mengerian/Böhm-Bawerkian/Hayekian capital theory. In particular, the author challenges the standard Austrian claim that a reduction in the rate of interest leads to a deeper, more roundabout capital structure.

    In general, Robert Vienneau’s blog Thoughts on Economic, seems very good. He focuses on critiquing neoclassical and mainstream economics from the viewpoint of Piero Sraffa.

    Rachel Maddow Breaks It Down For the Slow Folks. If you like, skip ahead to the 3:30 mark for a chart that clearly shows why Steve Austria is out of his mind.

    Communist mole Harry Truman’s food-conservation speech wherein he states:

    “Another factor that contributes to the high prices of food is gambling in grain. Grain prices naturally respond to the law of supply and demand, but they should not be subject to the greed of speculators who gamble on what may lie ahead in our commodity markets.”

    “There is a place for legitimate trading in futures and for hedging transactions. But 90 percent of all accounts in a recent corn futures market were found to be speculative. Trading in wheat futures grew 75 percent in September compared with August. Normal trading in wheat at Chicago should amount to 3 or 4 million bushels a day. In this past September, however, trading averaged almost 30 million bushels a day. In a single month, on one exchange, almost half the year’s crop was traded–bought and sold-just plain gambling.”

    “I am instructing the Commodity Exchange Commission, which consists of the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce, to demand of the grain exchanges that they increase their margin requirements to at least 33 1/3 percent. If the grain exchanges refuse, the Government may find it necessary to limit the amount of trading.”

    “I say this because the cost of living in this country must not be a football to be kicked about by gamblers in grain.”

    Just substitute oil for grain in the above to get the true flavor.

    Harry S. Truman — Communist or biggest communist EVAR!?

  178. Rindan says:

    I wouldn’t point and laugh. There is very legitimate disagreement about FDRs role in the great depression. Everyone certainly agrees that we spent our way out of it. The real issues is when, and what type of spending was effective. One camp argues that FDR spent his way out of it under the new deal and that the US was mostly recovered by WWII. The other camp argues FDR actually managed to make it worse, and it was only WWII that kicked us out of the great depression.

    I won’t venture a guess as to what the truth is. I know enough to know that my opinion is based upon reflexive ideological belief, not decades long research of the era done while getting PhD in economics. What I will point out is that the disagreement involves a lot of economist and is completely valid. This is not a creationist vs evolutionist argument. This is more of a Tesla vs Edison argument.

    While stating the arguments both pro and con is fine and fun, anyone who declares that they know THE answer is either full of shit or has a PhD in economics and has studied this time period extensively. I am going to venture a guess that the vast majority of liberals and libertarians on BoingBoing (does BB even have Republicans) who are arguing have not spent decades studying the problem and are really just spewing points to back up their ideology… hence they are are full of shit.

  179. Ugly Canuck says:

    Subsidized like US sugar producers, or like US arms makers?

  180. Ugly Canuck says:

    The problem with economics is not one of knowledge, as in science; rather, it is one of wisdom, as the incompleteness of the information (specifically, info about the future), embedded in the price, is an immutable condition. The future is and will ever be unknown to the present: this makes economics more like a study of history, of human relations (a discipline), rather than a study of physical relation (a science): IMO the epistemology of historical study is more akin to the epistemology of economics, rather than the latter being akin to the epistemology of physical science (and, further, the historical/observational dimension of economic study precludes economics from being axiomatic, like mathematics).
    Economics as a study is irreducibly political and value-driven: it really comes down to whether you would prefer to let your crops rot in the silos, rather than give it away for free, if you cannot find a buyer at your price.
    Economics is as political as the process of dividing the kill amongst the cave-dwellers was, after the hunters returned to the cave. Or the division of the harvest. Who gets what and why?
    Put another way:
    Science is observational, religion is revelatory, mathematics is axiomatic, and all the rest is ‘emotional’ (which is to say, political). That people will use the forms of reasoning adopted by the first three in pursuit of their political goals ought not to confuse us nor distract us from the essentially political nature of all economic questions.

  181. SKR says:

    Canuck,
    That’s a little glib don’t you think. It’s not like the US government is going to allow a private military to operate out of their territory. You also sidestepped the implied question, “Do you think they are doing a good job?”

  182. veritasnoctis says:

    Rindan,

    “Everyone certainly agrees that we spent our way out of it.”

    No, everyone most certainly does not agree with that. Many economists disagree with that too.

  183. ill lich says:

    Rush Limbaugh has been playing a variation on this card for a while now: he claims the Great Depression started in 1931 (I assume his logic is that the stock market crash wasn’t the beginning of it. . . hell, maybe he even thinks it’s unrelated to the Great Depression), and defends Hoover by saying “he was only president for ONE YEAR of the Great Depression.”

    So, how many countries were effected by the Great Depression, and what policies did they enact to try and fix it, and which policies worked? Hoover did nothing, and down the US slid. The GOP uses the argument that “it would have fixed itself” which may be right, but how long would that take, and how bad would it get? There was no way to know at the time. You could just as easily argue that FDR kept us from turning into the USSR or Nazi Germany (with 1/4 of the population out of work, that’s a lot of idle hands.)

    I’m not saying the New Deal was perfect, but FDR was at least trying to do something (which I personally think is better than doing nothing), and now they pillory him for it.

  184. Ugly Canuck says:

    ..or perhaps “subsidized” by the choice of policy A (private provision) over Policy B (gov. provision) by the Government (that is by the Gov’s current choice of policy), like US health-insurance companies are?

  185. Anonymous says:

    Austria may be an idiot, but that does not take away from the fact that FDR’s policies, much like Hoover’s policies, lengthened and deepened the ’29 Recession into the Great Depression that endured until sometime after WWII. While Hoover worsened things, much like W, by catering to corporatism and propping up dysfunctional businesses with money taken from the rest of the economy (and credit market), FDR worsened things by catering to populism and fixing prices, fixing wages, and rigidly regulating business creation and destruction.

    FDR certainly thought that he was doing the right thing. After all, he was mimicking the “cutting edge” policies in fascist and socialist Europe, hoping that the US wouldn’t fall behind in the race to plan a better central economy. It just turns out that central economies are consistently terrible, as seen in our government’s recent attempts to centrally plan the mortgage industry through its proxies in the (formerly QuaNGOes) Freddie and Fannie and the federally licensed ratings agencies.

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