Synopses & Reviews
Shortly after arriving in the White House in early 1933, Franklin Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard. His opponents thought his decision unwise at best, and ruinous at worst. But they could not have been more wrong.
With The Money Makers, Eric Rauchway tells the absorbing story of how FDR and his advisors pulled the levers of monetary policy to save the domestic economy and propel the United States to unprecedented prosperity and superpower status. Drawing on the ideas of the brilliant British economist John Maynard Keynes, among others, Roosevelt created the conditions for recovery from the Great Depression, deploying economic policy to fight the biggest threat then facing the nation: deflation.
Throughout the 1930s, he also had one eye on the increasingly dire situation in Europe. In order to defeat Hitler, Roosevelt turned again to monetary policy, sending dollars abroad to prop up the faltering economies of Britain and, beginning in 1941, the Soviet Union. FDRand#8217;s fight against economic depression and his fight against fascism were indistinguishable. As Rauchway writes, and#147;Roosevelt wanted to ensure more than business recovery; he wanted to restore American economic and moral strength so the US could defend civilization itself.and#8221; The economic and military alliance he created proved unbeatableand#151;and also provided the foundation for decades of postwar prosperity. Indeed, Rauchway argues that Rooseveltand#8217;s greatest legacy was his monetary policy. Even today, the and#147;Roosevelt dollarand#8221; remains both the symbol and the catalyst of Americaand#8217;s vast economic power.
The Money Makers restores the Roosevelt dollar to its central place in our understanding of FDR, the New Deal, and the economic history of twentieth-century America. We forget this history at our own peril. In revealing the roots of our postwar prosperity, Rauchway shows how we can recapture the abundance of that period in our own.
and#147;A compelling examination of a still-vilified monetary policy that has continued to show results in spite of conservative criticism.and#8221;
Shortly after assuming office in early 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt made the bold decision to take the United States off the gold standard. This was only the first act in his quest to use monetary policy as a political tool. In The Money Makers
, the distinguished historian Eric Rauchway shows how FDR and his brilliant team of advisersand#8212;John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and Cordell Hulland#8212;paved the way for economic recovery. By responding decisively to the Great Depression at home, they warded off indigenous fascist movements and ensured an Allied victory in World War II, laying the foundation for decades of global peace and prosperity.
Capturing not only the contentious debates among these headstrong figures but also the spirit of innovation that united them, Rauchway argues that we have forgotten their accomplishments. One result is that our modern preference for monetary stability over economic growth has led to stagnation and rising inequality. By uncovering the origins of midcentury economic success, Rauchway shows how we can recapture prosperity for our own age.
About the Author
is a historian at the University of California, Davis, and the author of numerous books on the Progressive and New Deal eras. He has written for the American Prospect
, the Financial Times
, and other publications, and lives in Davis, California.