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Showing posts from November, 2011

FDR's policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate / UCLA Newsroom

One of the arguments I've advanced in various forums, including my classrooms, is that much of the rise America experienced during and after the Second World War was "luck" — we were spared the direct destruction experienced by every other global economic leader. It's hard to lose the war of economic dominance when you're the only player in the game for two to three decades.

But what about the "end" of the Great Depression before the War? First, I'm not convinced we were truly out of the Depression; economists and historians debate this. (I've noticed historians are more inclined to embrace the "FDR saved us!" line, while economists are skeptical of simplified credit to a person or political party.)

FDR was not a purist; he was a political pragmatist. He spent, or cut, as he saw fit, without any grand plan. I believe it is far too simple to accuse FDR of adhering to Keynes or any other economist's views. FDR bounced from idea to id…

U.S. Still Believes We Control Our Personal Destinies

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Today, the Pew Research Center released the following:
The American-Western European Values Gap

It should be no surprise that Americans value personal freedom more than they value a social safety net. The United States is a nation built by explorers who managed to survive frontiers. Even immigrants celebrate the rugged individualism of our national heros. A table of the survey findings:


Notice that the data are mirror images. Europe has a different history, one shaped by two world wars and various upheavals. Neither approach is "right" or "wrong" — but I definitely fall in the personal freedom camp. I do not trust governments to solve problems and would rather be left alone to succeed or fail, as much as possible.

Most Americans support a minimal safety net, but nothing comparable to the European welfare state. Individualism and the Role of the StateIn the U.S., Britain, France and Germany, views of the role of the state divide significantly across ideological lin…