Saturday, December 19, 2015

Eric Rauchway

Eric Rauchway's latest book is The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace.

From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: What are some of the most common perceptions and misperceptions about FDR's monetary policies?

A: There's a lot of confusion about Roosevelt himself owing to the way his mind worked. As I explain in the book, Roosevelt came into office in March 1933 determined to end the gold standard, already persuaded that the gold standard had, through deflation, helped cause the Depression.

The first substantial act he took as president was to end the gold standard. Over the next 10 months or so of his presidency he took a series of further steps to replace the gold standard with provisions for managing the value of the dollar domestically and coordinating currency management internationally, so nothing like the Depression would happen again; by the end of his presidency he had realized this vision for both the U.S. and the world.

He was consistent in this purpose. But he did not lay out a detailed plan for it nor, I think, did he have one. Which is what seems to bother a lot of people.

Roosevelt had a particular kind of mind; as he said himself, early in his presidency, he was like a football quarterback: he knew he wanted to get his team to the end zone, and he knew what play he was going to run next.

But as for what he was going to do after that—well, he didn't see any point in thinking about that, because it all depended on how this next move worked out.

So he knew where he was going, but he didn't know, step-by-step, how he was going to get there—because Roosevelt knew he had to work through a political process, where there was opposition, and advances came piecemeal.

That way of thinking seems to me...[read on]
Visit Eric Rauchway'swebsite.

--Marshal Zeringue