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The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal (The Politically Incorrect Guides) Paperback – March 31, 2009
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We all learned in school that the 1920s were a time of unregulated capitalism that led to the stock market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire ideologue who did nothing to alleviate the crisis--even as citizens starved and were forced to live in "Hoovervilles." And the interventionist policies and massive spending programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal gradually lifted us out of the Depression, until World War II brought it to a definitive end.The only trouble with this official narrative--taught in most history textbooks, and proclaimed as gospel by the media--is that every element of it is false. Worse, this unsubstantiated myth is now being used to justify a "new New Deal" in response to today's economic crisis that could lead to a Greater Depression even deeper and longer than the first. But in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, economist Robert Murphy fact-checks the myths, shows why they're wrong, and delves deep into history to set the record straight. His "politically incorrect" conclusion? It was government, not free markets, that caused the Great Depression--and the New Deal only made it worse. The real "lessons of the Great Depression" are not what you've been taught.
* The Crash of `29 was caused not by capitalism, but by the boom brought on by the newly created Federal Reserve's easy money policy (sound familiar?)
* Hoover made the Depression "Great" precisely by abandoning the laissez-faire approach that previous presidents had followed and that kept depressions short
* The bank runs of the 1930s were caused by government intervention in the banking system
* Government efforts to prop up wages and prices led to a full decade of double-digit unemployment
* FDR's arbitrary policies toward businessmen resulted in net investment of less than zero for much of the Depression
Might Barack Obama be the new FDR? You'll know, after reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal that if he is, that's nothing to celebrate.
Top Customer Reviews
But alas, nothing is perfect. Murphy's book is troubling in two respects: 1. the reader wants/needs more - I literally could not put the book down... I wanted to keep going - his style makes for such easy and interesting reading! 2. his analysis of the current US state of affairs vis a vis 70-80 years ago is downright scary! He certainly does not exude confidence in our current "leaders."
Released in an exceptionally timely manner and well styled, the reader will have trouble telling the book from a newspaper. Similar to his earlier The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Capitalism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback), the author covers a large amount of history and theory together, never losing the reader's attention or confusing us with tedious theoretical minutia. Instead you'll find the simplest of graphs that make the most profound of conclusions by themselves. Quick reviews of familiar topics are followed by shocking details few have heard before. Always radical, but never dry or confusing, the subjects fall into each other smoothly. The history itself is right-on, with some of the latest research seamless with the more conventional subject matters.
The book starts with the Hoover administration, covers the crash, Hoover's response, and then details the whole Roosevelt administration, providing important points on earlier and later history throughout. Coverage is quick but exhaustive--every major political and economic development is mentioned.
Some of the PIG series tend to be trite with their arguments, but not this entry. Discussion of the classical gold metal standards' value and the working mechanisms of floating currency exchange under it were new, even to a well-read history hobbyist. The analysis of the sudden end of the New Deal is fresh and leads one to want to look further into this profound yet neglected development of our history.Read more ›
Robert Murphy makes use of sound economic analysis from an Austrian perspective (meaning the Austrian School of economics) to show and demonstrate how the depression was not caused by laissez faire policies but by the money supply manipulations of the Federal reserve, which was legislated into existence to purportedly reduce the number of recessions or runs of the banks that created the previous recessions. In fact the Federal Reserve merely helped to hasten the big recession that started in 1929.
What happened in 1929 is not that different to what happened in 1919-1921 (when the US suffered the OTHER Great Depression nobody hears about today). But instead of having the government reduce spending and lower taxes, to help people recover faster, the Hoover administration tried to bail out farmers, laborers and manufacturers by propping up food prices, wages and imposing a tariff that started a trade war between the US and everybody else.
Dr. Murphy debunks many other myths highly touted by historians, leftists and even many so-called conservatives:
+ That Herbert Hoover let the problem grow by a "do-nothing" approach, regardless of the clamors made by many.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book should be mandatory for everyone from junior high school through college. I've long been a student of the Great Depression, and it's refreshing to read a book which... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
An interesting read. Obviously, from the Austrian School.
I find it the author's enthusiasm for liquidating a bit excessive. Read more
I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in American history, economics or both of these topics. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Luis Raul Rivera III
I wish I would have had access to such a book when I was growing up. Along with humor, it is a scathing indictment of the propaganda shoveled at students over the past several... Read morePublished 6 months ago by iaminthevineyard
Excellent book - teaches you the truth - not the typical commie Lib crap teacher union garbage that government is good for you.Published 7 months ago by Kevin McLain
I didn't know FDR set prices by essentially drawing numbers out of a hat, but he did. He played games with people's lives, was reckless, feckless, used power wrongly, experimented... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Moriarty
Bob Murphy doesn't hold back in this smashing of the lies everyone was told in high school.Published 14 months ago by Scott Cowan
Finally a real insight into the true events surrounding the Great Depression. Always felt the information in School was incorrect. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Smith