Robert P. Murphy: The Myth of Wartime Prosperity
When pressed for a "success story" of their policies, Keynesians point with pride to World War II. They claim that it is the perfect illustration of the ability of massive government spending to lift an economy out of the doldrums.
In the effort to battle this myth, Steve Horwitz and Michael J. McPhillips offer an interesting new article that analyzes diaries, newspapers, and other primary source documents from the wartime era. They show that average Americans on the home front certainly did not think they were living amidst a great economic recovery. Yet as I’ll show in this article—relying on the pioneering efforts of Robert Higgs—we can use even the official statistics to turn the conventional Keynesian account on its head.
Before diving into the data, let me make a quick observation. I have heard many conservatives say, "FDR’s New Deal had nothing to do with fixing the economy. It was World War II that got us out of the Depression!" Yet when they say this, they give away the whole game. They are admitting that government spending can cure an economic downturn, and are just quibbling over whether it was FDR’s spending on schools and bridges, versus his spending on tanks and aircraft carriers.
Now let’s get hip-deep in the actual numbers...
comments powered by Disqus
- Election results are in for the American Historical Association
- Nial Ferguson warns Obama’s bet on Iran has low odds of success
- Sven Beckert’s List of the Ten Books on Slavery You Need to Read
- Jonathan Zimmerman says homosexuality is not alien to Africa