Reflections On The Great Depression by Randall Parker
Parker interviews a slew of big-name 20th century economists about the Great Depression. Think of it as Studs Terkel taking on economics ... with all the character depth replaced with economic allusions and academic in-fighting. Luckily, once in a while, we get some good commentary on the past.
This is a book, a sort of complaint, about the torrent of gold that came into this country with Hitler's rattling sword. It certainly liberated things. We used some of that money just recently in Mexico ( 1992 Clinton Rescue of the Peso ). That was where the $4e10 rescue dollars came from.
Came from where?
From the old gold stabilization fund. It did not require Congressional action.
It was also a very attractive development for politicians. here an eminent, well-respected, world famous economist, was saying to them what they always wanted to hear. The way they could make everybody rich was by spending more money without raising taxes. Now, (chuckling) it's hard to think of a more attractive message to politicians. And of course, it didn't really affect the public at large. So, the Keynesian doctrine was very attractive to professional economists, politicians, and government employees.
I think it was that I caught on to the importance of externalities. And on this I tend to be still somewhat the minority. The effects of externalities are quite unpredictable and this means that effects of policies and policy steps are quite unpredictable.
There is a very good book called 'One Hundred Years of Land Values in Chicago' by Homer Hoyt. This book talks about the relationship between the stock market and the real estate market. That's interesting, it's the lemming/herd mentality principle. Everyone makes money in the stock market and people say "Hey, come on, let's get going." then you ordered one condominium to live in and bought five others and sold them for a profit. Should you regulate that? I have no idea. It's tricky. But the real estate market is different from the stock market because when it collapses, they collapse together. The stock market gets cleared up in six months. The real estate market takes years and you cannot see a better example of this than in Japan now. They're still trying to clean up the real estate mess from 1990.
Foundations corrupt, and the Ford Foundation corrupts absolutely.
It's (the GI Bill) really very good from every point of view. But one thing, it brought back things that I have forgotten. It was passed and passed by a very narrow margin in 1944, early 1944, maybe late in 1943. It was passed by a narrow margin, nobody foresaw what the results were going to be. It was basically a scheme of getting some sizeable numbers of GIs off the street.
And out of the labor force.
Out of the labor force for the time being.