The National Recovery Administration: An Analysis and Appraisal

By Leverett S. Lyon; Paul T. Homan et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXI
THE CRITERIA OF RECOVERY

In the diverse hopes and interests which it embodied, the National Industrial Recovery Act came near to being "all things to all men." It gave to labor the promise of shorter hours, higher wages, and the right of collective bargaining. To industry it offered at last a relaxation of the anti-trust laws, and the right, subject to administrative review, to restrain through "price stabilization" schemes and trade practice regulations what was rather vaguely described as "cut-throat" or "destructive" competition. To social reformers and humanitarians it seemed a way of obtaining at one stroke national legislation on maximum hours, minimum wages, child labor, and other subjects theretofore beyond the reach of the federal government. To those interested in ecollomic planning it seemed to promise in some measure both the organization and the control needed for further advance along that line.

It is obvious that although the immediate concern of the National Recovery Administration was all attack oil the business depression, the program which by the terms of the Recovery Act it was empowered to execute went much further than this. It embraced both recovery and "reform." Indeed it might even be said that it sought recovery through reform. The raising of wages and the shortening of hours were measures advocated for decades by organized labor in season and out, in prosperity and depression alike. These were from the labor standpoint essentially permanent and continuing reform proposals, not special measures addressed to depression conditions.

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