Back to the future.
I agree with some of this and disagree with other parts. Yes, capitalism as it was practiced in 19th and early 20th century finally collapsed as Marx predicted it would, with the managerial revolution subsequently implementing a new form of capitalism. The impact of the managerial revolution’s economic policies may have prolonged the depression, at least in certain sectors, but its purpose wasn’t to end the depression but to A) bail out the ruling class (like 2008 and 2020) and B) save the ass of the ruling class from revolutions like Italy, Germany, and Russia had experienced by pacifying labor, farmer, and other popular movements that developed during the Great Depression, in which communists and fascists were making inroads. Ultimately, elitist-reformers won out over revolutionary-extremists for the sake of ruling class self-preservation. Lawrence Dennis recognized all of this even before James Burnham developed his “managerial revolution” thesis.
Amity Shlaes challenges the received wisdom that the Great Depression occurred because capitalism broke and that it ended because FDR, and government in general, came to the rescue. According to Shlaes, it was the government that made the Great Depression worse. And was FDRs progressivism, as evident in the New Deal, really all that new, or was it a step along a progressive continuum that already had been established?
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Peter Robinson sat down (virtually over Zoom) with Kevin Warsh, the Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. They discuss the nuts and bolts of the Federal Government’s 2 Trillion dollar (and rising) recovery and aid package, why it was needed, and its chances of staving off a depression. In addition, they discuss how the government can help (and possibly hurt) both small businesses and large corporations. Finally, Kevin gives some reasons to be optimistic (in the long run at least) and makes an argument as to why the U.S. economy is well suited to make a strong recovery.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior fellow at both the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute. His March 24, 2020, article in the Wall Street Journal questions the premise that “coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines.” In the article he suggests that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.” In this edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson we asked Dr. Bhattacharya to defend that statement and describe to us how he arrived at this conclusion. We get into the details of his research, which used data collected from hotspots around the world and his background as a doctor, a medical researcher, and an economist. It’s not popular right now to question conventional wisdom on sheltering in place, but Dr. Bhattacharya makes a strong case for challenging it, based in economics and science.