April 2, 2009
Senior Fellow in Political Economy, The
in a lively conversation
Replaying the New Deal
A Very Bad Idea
Robert Higgs says: As the recession has deepened and the financial debacle has lurched from one episode to another during the past year, any commentators have recommended that the U.S. government undertake a second New Deal.
These calls seem premised on a variety of myths about what the original New Deal involved and what it gave rise to.
The New Deal -- and to some extent the Hoover program that preceded it -- amounted to a massive, ongoing, unpredictable intervention in the market system.
Although a few of the programs might have had positive first-order effects on the economy's performance, the New Deal as a whole amounted to an enormous drag on the normal readjustments to and recovery from the economic downturn that began in 1929.
A second New Deal would be highly detrimental to recovery from the current recession.
Dr. Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy
for The Independent Institute and Editor of the
Institute's quarterly journal The
Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in
economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught
at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle
University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has
been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford
University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the
National Science Foundation.
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the
Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty,
Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the
Cause of Civil Liberties, Lysander Spooner Award for
Advancing the Literature of Liberty, Friedrich von Wieser
Memorial Prize for Excellence in Economic Education, and
Templeton Honor Rolls Award on Education in a Free Society.
Dr. Higgs is the editor of The Independent Institute
books Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global
Challenge of Liberty, Re-Thinking
to Our Health? and Arms,
Politics, and the Economy, plus the volume Emergence
of the Modern Political Economy.
His authored books include Neither
Liberty Nor Safety, Depression,
War, and Cold War, Resurgence
of the Warfare State, Against
Transformation of the American Economy 1865-1914, Competition
and Coercion, and Crisis
and Leviathan. A contributor to numerous scholarly
volumes, he is the author of more than 100 articles and
reviews in academic journals.
His popular articles have appeared in The Wall Street
Journal, Los Angeles Times, Providence Journal, Chicago
Tribune, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle,
Society, Reason, AlterNet, and many other publications
and Web sites, and he has appeared on NPR, NBC, ABC, C-SPAN,
CBN, CNBC, America’s Talking Television, Radio America
Network, Radio Free Europe, Talk Radio Network, Voice of
America, Newstalk TV, the Organization of American
Historians’ public radio program, and scores of local
radio and television stations. He has also been interviewed
for articles in the New York Times, Washington Post,
Terra Libera, Investor's Business Daily, UPI, Orlando
Sentinel, Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, National Journal,
Reason, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, Folha
de Sao Paulo, Newsmax, Financial Times, Al-Ahram
Weekly, Creators Syndicate, and elsewhere.
Dr. Higgs has spoken at more than 100 colleges and
universities and at the meetings of such professional
organizations as the Economic History Association, Western
Economic Association, Population Association of America,
Southern Economic Association, International Economic
History Congress, Public Choice Society, International
Studies Association, Cliometric Society, Allied Social
Sciences Association, American Political Science
Association, American Historical Association, and others.
Higgs last spoke at Junto in November
For more information on this Junto event, including
time, location, and other features of the meeting see the April