Tag Archives: Great Depression

For God So Loved the 1 Percent … – NYTimes.com

For God So Loved the 1 Percent … – NYTimes.com.

January 17, 2012, 9:00 pm

For God So Loved the 1 Percent …

Princeton, N.J.

IN recent weeks Mitt Romney has become the poster child for unchecked capitalism, a role he seems to embrace with relish. Concerns about economic equality, he told Matt Lauer of NBC, were really about class warfare.

“When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus 1 percent,” he said, “you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Mr. Romney was on to something, though perhaps not what he intended.

The concept of “one nation under God” has a noble lineage, originating in Abraham Lincoln’s hope at Gettysburg that “this nation, under God, shall not perish from the earth.” After Lincoln, however, the phrase disappeared from political discourse for decades. But it re-emerged in the mid-20th century, under a much different guise: corporate leaders and conservative clergymen deployed it to discredit Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

During the Great Depression, the prestige of big business sank along with stock prices. Corporate leaders worked frantically to restore their public image and simultaneously roll back the “creeping socialism” of the welfare state. Notably, the American Liberty League, financed by corporations like DuPont and General Motors, made an aggressive case for capitalism. Most, however, dismissed its efforts as self-interested propaganda. (A Democratic Party official joked that the organization should have been called “the American Cellophane League” because “first, it’s a DuPont product and, second, you can see right through it.”)

Realizing that they needed to rely on others, these businessmen took a new tack: using generous financing to enlist sympathetic clergymen as their champions. After all, according to one tycoon, polls showed that, “of all the groups in America, ministers had more to do with molding public opinion” than any other.

The Rev. James W. Fifield, pastor of the elite First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, led the way in championing a new union of faith and free enterprise. “The blessings of capitalism come from God,” he wrote. “A system that provides so much for the common good and happiness must flourish under the favor of the Almighty.”

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Read the full article here: The New York Times

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The euro crisis will give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of – Telegraph Blogs

The euro crisis will give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of – Telegraph Blogs.

Peter Oborne
Peter Oborne is the Daily Telegraph‘s chief political commentator.

The euro crisis will give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of

By Peter Oborne

Last updated: July 21st, 2011

Many of the biggest losers from the Wall Street Crash were not those greedy speculators who bought at the very top of the market. There was also a category of investor who recognised that stocks had become badly overvalued, sold their shares in the summer or autumn of 1928, then waited patiently as the market surged onwards to ever more improbable highs.

When the crash came in October 1929, they felt thoroughly vindicated, and waited for the dust to settle. The following spring, when share prices had consolidated at around a third lower than the all-time high reached the previous year, they reinvested the family savings, probably feeling a bit smug. Then, on April 17, 1930, the market embarked on a second and even more shattering period of decline, by the end of which shares were worth barely 10 per cent of their value at their peak. Those prudent investors who had seen the Wall Street Crash coming were wiped out.

There was one crucial message from yesterday’s shambolic and panicky eurozone summit: today’s predicament contains terrifying parallels with the situation that prevailed 80 years ago, although the problem lies (at this stage, at least) with the debt rather than the equity markets.

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Read the full story here: The Daily Telegraph

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