Business Cycles in the Progressive Era and New Deal
Chapter 14: Epilogue: the moral economy in the twenty-first century
The New Deal was ended by the time the US entered World War II, but its legacy remains with us. As George Soule so aptly put it, the programmes of the New Deal ‘have been assimilated into the background; they are beginning to be taken for granted even by many of their traditional opponents’ (Soule 1939, p. 2). History has proved the aptness of Soule’s statement. Aside from the NIRA, the social programmes we have discussed in this book, the NLRA, the FLSA, unemployment insurance as part of the Social Security Act, regulation of business and Keynesian fiscal policy remain in place as unassailable policies along with a host of other programmes we have not discussed such as the Federal Housing Administration, the social security pension system and federal welfare assistance. Advocates for the market economy may well lament that they can never get rid of Roosevelt’s system. There is one aspect of the New Deal that they may not lament: the US does not have a system of national planning as was proposed by many whom we have called proponents of the moral economy. Soule may represent those proponents in his prediction that the government would soon have to take over the railroads and use fiscal policy to build factories. In this way, government ownership of industry, or at least a part of it, would enable the government policies for stimulating the economy to be more effective (Soule 1939, pp. 89–90).
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