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There are efforts which were put in place by others in the days long gone that in one way or the other contributed to the currently visible achievements or failures. It therefore can be extremely motivating if those efforts are never recognized. On the other hand, in a case where they led to failure, it can be vital if the efforts are reviewed and adjusted in order to find a solution to the current problems related to the same issue as it was in the past.
The review which shall comprise the discussion today shall involve the close examination of a book with the title The Forgotten Man: A New History of The Great Depression. This book by Amity Shlaes advances a very clear thesis which is evident right from the beginning. Both Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover during their terms came up with unique economic policies. These policies were not only counterproductive but they also played a major role in prolonging The Great Depression in part. This is because so much uncertainty was created by the nature of the policy making which was a rather inconsistent one.
To begin with, the author of the book, Amity Ruth Shlaes was born on the 10th of September 1960. She is not only a famous author but also a popular American columnist in New York. Her works mostly comprise themes which explore the fraternities of economics and politics. She is a Yale University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She mostly writes a syndicated column for Bloomberg news and has also made many appearances on television and radio. For instance, she was in a commentary on public radio for market place. The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression is Shlaes most recent best seller. She mainly wrote this book to emphasize a devotion to the study of the concept of the Great Depression in the United States as well as the issue of the New Deal. Going by the way it was received; the book can easily be viewed as the one which depicted the history of the American depression in the finest manner.
The Forgotten Man is a book that majorly comprises a re-analysis of some of the most notable events which took place during the Great Depression in America. The book is written mainly from the perspective of a free market. Just as it has been mentioned above, the author in her work majors on the economic strategies which were embraced by the two presidents during their reigns. One eminent aspects greatly explored by the author is the fact that some of the economic policies which were implemented by these presidents could have contributed to the elongation of the Great Depression. The author also asserts that the strategies which characterized the process of policy making were not consistent. This inconsistency in policy making therefore built an uncertainty which simply made things kind of worse.
In the introductory parts and going into the middle sections of the book, the reader manages to adequately interact with the way in which the author criticizes some of President Herbert Hoover’s ideas. For instance, Shlaes specifically picks on Hoover’s idea and the issue of the Smooth Hawley Tariff. She makes it quite clear that the smooth Hawley Tariff under the reinforcement of President Hoover played a major role in exacerbating the depression especially through government intervention. In other words these parties probably took advantage of their powers to manipulate certain economic trends which seemingly did not augur well with the economic status of the country.
Apart from reviewing the roles of the above mentioned parties, Shlaes also goes ahead to explore some of the strategies which were put in place by president Roosevelt which could have equally led to the elongation of this predicament. For instance, she refers to some the president’s policies as erratic. According to her, these policies froze investment. This happened due to the fact that the steps which were taken by the president to stop the depression were not smart enough.
In addition to the above details, the author also goes ahead to criticize the New Deal. In this case, she puts it that that the concept of the New Deal did not solve the problem of the depression, instead, it only made it longer. The New Deal also had tremendous effects on individuals and most of these effects were connected to their financial or rather economic status. In order to enhance this argument, the author notes that the strategies which surrounded the introduction and implementation of the New Deal were not effective enough. They were therefore implemented without being given much thought and as a result, instead of bringing the much desired solution, this only elongated the shortcoming.
On the other hand, Shlaes gets to praise the model which was offered by Wendell Willkie. This had happened before the presidential election in 1940. According to the author, this is the very period in which the New Deal would have been scaled back hence giving room for business to thrive in the country.
Right from the beginning of the book, the author exposes her thoughts in line with the history of the country as far as the Great Depression is concerned. The main issue in the book is her analysis of the events that in one way or the other could have led to or elongated the great depression. The main argument is based on the strategies by the two presidents mentioned above. In order to emphasize her ideas and the main argument, the author includes an anecdote of the recession which took place in 1937. This was eight years after the depression had begun. At this point, she explores some of the strategies by Roosevelt which involved budget-balancing policies which were adopted by the president. In an effective comparison of the approaches by the two presidents, Shlaes asserts that the policies adopted by President Roosevelt were in no way distinguishable from the stereotype that President Hoover supposedly did.
In her work, Shlaes gets to present arguments in an effective manner hence allowing the ideas to easily sink into the minds of the reader. She achieves this by including stories involving self-starters who exposed what the free market could have achieved in case the issue of the New Deal never prevailed. The book therefore manages to effectively expose the failure of the New Deal to revive the economy of the United States of America.
While moving towards the conclusion of her book, the author then draws a comparison between the policies that governed the New Deal and the current policies in the government which have been put in place in a bid to solve the serious economic problems. This in actual sense gives the reader a way forward. The author’s stand is not only visible but also firm and well backed up. It is true that the policies that governed the New Deal never worked. It is therefore vital to compare them with the current policies as this would be an efficient way of confirming whether these policies will eventually bear fruit or not. It can therefore be concluded that the ideas and the stands taken by the author were not only valid ones but also educative. This perhaps explains why the book has become an important tool in the ongoing battle to revive the economy of the United States of America. The contents of the book are both educating and exposing.
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