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David Cannadine explains FDR’s antipathy to capitalism and the free-market

Like his earlier presidential cousin Theodore, Franklin D Roosevelt felt a strong patrician disdain for big business and upstart wealth. This was partly because the Roosevelt clan was never very rich but it was also because in terms of their lineage and their lands, they were about as close to being aristocracy as it’s possible to get in a country, which came into being by proclaiming that all men were created equal.

Audio here

This lends support to Deirdre McCloskey‘s thesis of Bourgeois Dignity

According to McCloskey, our modern world was not the product of new markets and innovations, but rather the result of shifting opinions about them. During this time, talk of private property, commerce, and even the bourgeoisie itself radically altered, becoming far more approving and flying in the face of prejudices several millennia old. The wealth of nations, then, didn’t grow so dramatically because of economic factors: it grew because rhetoric about markets and free enterprise finally became enthusiastic and encouraging of their inherent dignity.

Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

March 8, 2012 at 14:55

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