Sunday, 20 February 2011

Was Roosevelt's Short-Term Answer to the Depression Right?

Let us for one moment forget about the political parties being in hock to the banks/financiers, the national debt and so on.

OK?

Right. Let me then as a question that may shock and upset some.

Are Labour right? Is the Milliband (Jewish offspring of Marxists) proposal to spend ones way out of depression something better by degrees than the Tory prospect of taking money out of the economy (witness VAT at 20%, petrol no-one can afford, libraries closing etc.)?

Let us think of the example of Roosevelt's New Deal during the depression-era of 30's America. All/most the (for want of a better word) "fascists" of America lobbied Roosevelt and supported his New Deal. The idea (if I understand it right) was for the US government to spend money on huge projects, to get money flowing back through the economy, to get large numbers of the unemployed back in work.

Right: Roosevelt's New Deal had the support of the "radical right" in America. Fascism? Socialism? Wise move? Or short-term populism?

Then, again put aside your hang-ups, we are dealing with economics not political persuasions, we have the example of Hitler's Germany which, as the depression ground on in countries like the UK, put German workers' interests first and built the autobahns, pumped money into workers' houses, holidays etc.

Now I know they are not perfect mirrors of each other as I dare say the American and German governments treated banks, financiers and usury very differently (and that has huge ramifications in the short and long term), as would a Labour Party government in today's Britain.

But (and to misquote Graham Norton it's a big but) might we conjecture from this that the Labour Party's idea of spending money on projects to keep people employed, keep money flowing through the economy, make sense?

I'd be interested to hear what others think.

After all, if "free marketeers" charge in and start screeching "socialism," might we not reply that it took the "socialism" of a mass public bail-out to prevent the gods of the free-market going bust?

As Hilaire Belloc wrote some time before in the nationalist classic 'An Essay on the Restoration of Property', the Nationalist/Distributist position is that the "little man" (and his family/business) must be free from unnecessary government interference and the bullying monopoly-capitalism of the Tescos, and so be truly free. But when it comes to larger, national matters, there must be a government (truly representative - that's where Guilds come in) and even government ownership, to ensure important national matters (such as the infrastructure which cannot be run by small businesses) are not prone to "market forces."

Food for thought.

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