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Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal

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Tags Booms and BustsU.S. HistoryPolitical Theory

03/31/2009Robert P. Murphy

Robert Murphy puts together in one easy package the research of hundreds of scholars, showing that it was not capitalism that failed in 1929 but the boom times created by Fed credit expansion. Murphy takes aim at the Chicago School economists and the Keynesians who continued to be in denial on this central point.

A particularly great feature here for Austrians dealing with monetarist myths: Murphy explains that the deflation in the 1930s didn't have to be somehow devastating. It was not egregious by historical standards, and was fully compatible with economic growth. In fact, the Fed tried but failed to flood the economy with money in the 1930s. Here Murphy provides a very compelling explanation of fractional-reserve banking and its effect on the supply of money.

He further shows that Hoover was not a free-market president. His policies were so statist that he might as well have been a Soviet agent. His biggest critic, who blasted him for his spending and centralization, was none other than FDR. But once FDR came to power, he enacted the longest string of cockamamie, prosperity-killing measures of any president in American history.

Murphy dissects the real history here with facts, analysis, clear prose, suggestions for further reading, fantastic quotations from all the main players, and even when he is discussing complicated data, he never leaves the reader behind.

 

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