The chief result of the struggle between the impulse to reform and classical economic liberalism in the early part of the 20th century was the welfare state. These partial triumphs of reform occurred because more and more of the population wanted an increase in bargaining power with the great concentrations of wealth, some additional leverage that would provide some reprieve from the harshness of Fate and Misfortune, some badly needed security and protection for the bulk of the people that it had never enjoyed.Read it all. It is short and to the point. The comment thread is (thus far) reasonably intelligent so peruse that as well. (Pat Lang's blog has a varied and interesting group of regular commenters, btw.) Many of the points Sale makes about the conventionality of Hoover in response to the Great Depression are part of my analysis of the current administration.
Conventional wisdom – which is to say sanctified hearsay and cliche – had argued for years that the American economic system had no flaws -- that capitalism was a process ordained by God to separate the weak from the strong, the energetic and daring from the ordinary and inert.
The dogma that claimed Big Business system was God-ordained and that the millionaire was the finest flower of American civilization was at last toppled from its pedestal because the dogma of conventional wisdom had been rendered obsolete by events. People may find it hard to reason, but most of them are able to see, and when dogma cannot account for the facts of experience, dogma falters.