The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace by Eric Rauchway
It is said that history repeats itself. That’s not quite true, but it does often rhyme. When FDR took office in in 1933, the United States was in much worse shape than it is today. The Great Depression had destroyed businesses and jobs. Discontent was raging, and there was a real threat of populist movements that regarded democratic capitalism as a failure and were willing to consider fascism, communism, or some kind of totalitarian system to replace it, as long as it provided a promise of security and a sense of hope for the future.
People today are feeling much the same, but for reasons far less dire. Still, with wages stagnant and with the promise of upward mobility lost, there is again this urge to find an alternative. In 1933, Roosevelt understood where the real problem lie, and he drew on the insights of British economist John Maynard Keynes to help him to not only restore the economy but to make America greater than it had ever been. The history related in this book is especially important for our time. As the author says, “So we face a choice. We can return to the lately prevailing orthodoxy that discounted Roosevelt and Keynes, and which led to our current discontents: or we can heed the lessons of their success.” (pg. 245)