With the economy in a deep recession and policymakers turning to massive government intervention in an attempt to create jobs and bolster the financial system -- it feels like the 1930s all over again. Today's new New Deal is rapidly unfolding, with the Obama administration and many lawmakers making it clear that any question of the success of FDR's New Deal policies was resolved long ago: government intervention worked, and history bears repeating.
However, there are deep disagreements about the New Deal, and whether Roosevelt's policies deepened the depression and delayed recovery.
Harold Cole is Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and author of numerous articles on the Great Depression for leading U.S. and international publications.
Price V. Fishback is Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona. The author of numerous books and articles on economic history, he is currently involved in a long-term study of the political economy of Roosevelt's New Deal, including related spending and loans and their impact on local economies throughout the U.S.
Sallie James is a policy analyst with Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies. James writes and speaks on a variety of trade topics, with a research emphasis on the subject of agricultural trade policy.
Before joining Cato in 2006, James was an executive officer in the Office of Trade Negotiations in the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior to that she was a Senior Policy Adviser in the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. She held numerous research and teaching assistant positions while studying.
Her articles have been published in the Washington Times, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the European Review of Agricultural Economics. James has appeared on BBC World, CNBC and Australian ABC's Behind the News.
James received her Bachelor of Economics and Master of Economics degrees from the University of Adelaide, and her Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Western Australia.
Randall E. Parker is Professor of Economics at East Carolina University, and author of the books Reflections on the Great Depression and The Economics of the Great Depression: A Twenty-First Century Look Back at the Economics of the Interwar Era.
Economics professor Randall Parker asks why the Great Depression was so prolonged. He blames the lengthy recovery period of the depression on an increase in the cost of labor, which resulted in fewer jobs. He cautions the same outcome is possible in today’s unsteady economic environment.