Peddling Panaceas: Popular Economists in the New Deal Era

By Folsom, Burton, Jr. | Freeman, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Peddling Panaceas: Popular Economists in the New Deal Era


Folsom, Burton, Jr., Freeman


Peddling Panaceas: Popular Economists in the New Deal Era by Gary Dean Best Transaction Publishers * 2005 * 273 pages * $49.95

Reviewed by Burton Folsom, Jr.

The Great Depression of the 1930s marked a sharp turn in American economic thought. Orthodox economists, who argued for free markets and limited government, seemed to be discredited-even though most of their solutions remained untried under President Hoover. Instead, Americans were readier than ever to listen to new ideas about how government could be used to restore economic growth. Stuart Chase, in the last line of his 1932 book A New Deal asked: "Why should the Russians have all the fun of remaking a world?"

In Peddling Panaceas Gary Dean Best ably describes the thinking of three popular and influential economists during the 1930s-Chase, Edward Rumely, and David Cushman Coyle. Not one of these three men had advanced degrees and formal training in economics, but each one latched onto and popularized various ideas for government planning in the 1930s.

Rumely was an inflationist; he promoted his views as executive secretary of the Committee for the Nation to Rebuild Prices and Purchasing Power. He and his Committee argued that economic recovery would occur if the United States went off the gold standard and artificially raised the price of gold. If the price of gold went up, Rumely said, the price of commodities would do so as well. That price hike, in Rumely's calculations, would break the deflationary spiral and lift American farmers and businessmen out of the economic doldrums.

The problem was that Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard and raised the price of gold, but the prices of commodities did not rise as well. By 1934 Rumely was discredited and the President turned to other advisers.

Chase, trained as an engineer and an accountant, had his own recipe for prosperity: "[P]ut at least five billion dollars in ultimate consumers' hands during the next few months. Such an amount in such a place has an excellent chance of definitely ending deflation." But where was the $5 billion to come from? Sharply raise the progressivity of the income tax, Chase said, and ask the recipients of the $5 billion to spend it as quickly as they can.

Chase wrote an average of one book a year from 1929 to 1936, and his ideas-which also included a plea for collectivizing much of American industry-clearly influenced President Roosevelt's public-works programs, especially the Works Projects Administration (WPA). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Peddling Panaceas: Popular Economists in the New Deal Era
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.