Montreal, September 16 2007 • No 233




We publish an exerpt from Murray Rothbard's A New History of Leviathan - Essays on the Rise of the American Corporate State, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc. (New York), 1972, p. 111-145.




by Murray Rothbard (1926-1995)


          The conventional wisdom, of historian and layman alike, pictures Herbert Hoover as the last stubborn guardian of laissez-faire in America. The laissez-faire economy, so this wisdom runs, produced the Great Depression in 1929, and Hoover's traditional, do-nothing policies could not stem the tide. Hence, Hoover and his hidebound policies were swept away, and Franklin Roosevelt entered to bring to America a New Deal, a new progressive economy of state regulation and intervention fit for the modern age.


          The major theme of this paper is that this conventional historical view is pure mythology and that the facts are virtually the reverse: that Herbert Hoover, far from being an advocate of laissez-faire, was in every way the precursor of Roosevelt and the New Deal, that, in short, he was one of the major leaders of the twentieth-century shift from relatively laissez-faire capitalism to the modern corporate state. In the terminology of William A. Williams and the New Left, Hoover was a preeminent "corporate liberal."

          When Herbert Hoover returned to the United States in late 1919, fresh from his post as Relief Administrator in Europe, he came armed with a suggested "Reconstruction Program" for America. The program sketched the outlines of a corporate state; there was to be national planning through "voluntary" cooperation among businesses and groups under "central direction."(1) The Federal Reserve System was to allocate capital to essential industries and thereby eliminate the industrial "waste" of free markets. Hoover's plan also included the creation of public dams, the improvement of waterways, a federal home-loan banking system, the promotion of unions and collective bargaining, and governmental regulation of the stock market to eliminate "vicious speculation."(2) It is no wonder that Progressive Republicans as well as such Progressive Democrats as Louis Brandeis, Herbert Croly, and others on the New Republic, Edward A. Filene, Colonel Edward M. House, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, boomed Hoover for the presidency during the 1920 campaign.

          Hoover was appointed Secretary of Commerce by President Harding under pressure by the Progressive wing of the party, and accepted under the condition that he would be consulted on all the economic activities of the federal government. He thereupon set out deliberately to "reconstruct America."(3)

          Hoover was only thwarted from breaking the firm American tradition of laissez-faire during a depression by the fact that the severe but short-lived depression of 1920-21 was over soon after he took office. He also faced some reluctance on the part of Harding and the Cabinet. As it was, however, Hoover organized a federal committee on unemployment, which supplied unemployment relief through branches and subbranches to every state, and in numerous cities and local communities. Furthermore, Hoover organized the various federal, state, and municipal governments to increase public works, and persuaded the biggest business firms, such as Standard Oil of New Jersey and United States Steel, to increase their expenditure on repairs and construction. He also persuaded employers to spread unemployment by cutting hours for all workers instead of discharging the marginal workers – an action he was to repeat in the 1929 Depression.(4)

          Hoover called for these interventionist measures with an analogy from the institutions of wartime planning and collaboration, urging that Americans develop "the same spirit of spontaneous cooperation in every community for reconstruction that we had in war."(5)

          An important harbinger for Hoover's later Depression policies was the President's Conference on Unemployment, a gathering of eminent leaders of industry, banking, and labor called by President Harding in the fall of 1921 at the instigation of Hoover. In contrast to Harding's address affirming laissez-faire as the proper method of dealing with depressions, Hoover's opening address to the Conference called for active intervention.(6) Furthermore, the Conference's major recommendation – for coordinated federal state expansion of public works to remedy depressions – was prepared by Hoover and his staff in advance of the conference.(7) Of particular importance was the provision that public works and public relief were to be supplied only at the usual wage rate – a method of trying to maintain the high wage rates of the preceding boom during a depression.

          Although these interventions did not have time to take hold in the 1921 depression, a precedent for federal intervention in an economic depression had now been set, as one of Hoover's admiring biographers writes, "rather to the horror of conservatives."(8)

          The President's Conference established three permanent research committees, headed overall by Hoover, which continued during the 1920s to publish studies advocating public-works stabilization during depressions. One such book, Seasonal Operations in the Construction Industry (Washington, D.C.: Conference on Unemployment, 1921), the foreword to which was written by Hoover, urged seasonal stabilization of construction. This study was in part the result of a period of propaganda emitted by the American Construction Council, a trade association for the construction industry, which of course was enthusiastic about large-scale programs of government contracts for the construction industry. This Council was founded jointly by Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the summer of 1922, with the aim of stabilizing and cartelizing the industry, and of planning the entire construction industry through the imposition of various codes of "ethics" and of "fair practice." The codes were the particular idea of Herbert Hoover. Following the path of all would-be cartelists who are hostile to no one more than the individualistic competitor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the American Construction Council, took repeated opportunity to denounce rugged individualism and profit-seeking by individuals.(9)

          Throughout the 1920s Hoover supported numerous bills in Congress for public-works programs during depressions. He was backed in these endeavors by the American Federation of Labor [AF of L], the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the American Engineering Council, of which Hoover was for a time president. It was clear that the engineering profession would also benefit greatly from government subsidization of the construction industry. By the middle twenties, President Coolidge, Secretary Mellon, and the National Democratic Party had been converted to the scheme, but Congress was not yet convinced.

          After he was elected President, but before taking office, Hoover allowed his public-works plan (the "Hoover Plan") to be presented to the Conference of Governors in late 1928 by Governor Ralph Owen Brewster of Maine. Brewster called the plan the "Road to Plenty," a name that Hoover had taken from Foster and Catchings,(10) the popular co-authors of a plan for massive inflation and public works as the way to end depressions. Although seven or eight governors were enthusiastic about the plan, the Governors' Conference tabled the scheme. A large part of the press hailed the plan extravagantly as a "pact to outlaw depression." Leading the applause was William Green, head of the AF of L, who hailed the plan as the most important announcement on wages and employment in a decade, and John P. Frey of the AF of L who announced that Hoover had accepted the AF of L theory that depressions are caused by low wages. The press reported that "labor is jubilant" because the new President's remedy for unemployment is "identical with that of labor."

          The close connection between Hoover and the labor leadership was no isolated phenomenon. Hoover had long agitated for industry to encourage and incorporate labor unionism within the framework of the emerging industrial order. Moreover, he played a crucial role in converting the labor leaders themselves to the idea of a corporate state with unions as junior partners in the system, a state that would organize and harmonize labor and capital.

          Hoover's pro-union views first achieved prominence when, as chairman of President Wilson's Second Industrial Conference (1919/20), he guided this conference of corporate-liberal industrialists and labor leaders to criticize "company unionism" and to urge the expansion of collective bargaining, government arbitration boards for labor disputes, and a program of national health and old-age insurance. Soon afterward Hoover arranged a meeting of leading industrialists with "advanced views," in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade them to "establish liaison" with the AF of L. In January, 1921, the AF of L journal published a significant address by Hoover, which called for the "definite organization of great national associations" of economic groups and their mutual cooperation. This cooperation would serve to promote efficiency, and mitigate labor-management conflict. Above all, workers would be protected from "the unfair competition of the sweatshop." Still more did this mean "protection" of the lower-cost large employers from the competition of their smaller "sweatshop" rivals – a typical instance of monopolizers using humanitarian rhetoric to gain public support for the restriction and suppression of competition. Hoover went so far in this address as to support the closed shop, provided that the closure was to be for the sake of unity of purpose in aiding the employer to increase production and to mold a cooperative labor force. In conclusion, Hoover called for a new economic system, what was in effect a corporate state, that would provide an alternative to old-fashioned laissez-faire capitalism on the one hand and Marxian socialism on the other.(11)

          In an authoritative study, William English Walling, an intimate of Samuel Gompers, wrote of the crucial influence of Hoover's theories upon Gompers and the AF of L, especially from 1920 on. This influence was particularly strong in persuading the labor leaders to endorse the idea of organizing all the large occupation groups and then effecting their mutual harmony and cooperation under the aegis and control of the federal government. Capital and labor in each industry, organized in collaboration, were to have the role of government of that particular industry.(12) It was indeed appropriate for the French politician Edouard Herriot to praise Hoover in 1920 for his idea of fusing the "economic trinity" of labor, capital, and government into one system, thus putting an end to the class struggle.(13)

          Another reason for Hoover's pro-union attitude was that he had adopted the increasingly popular thesis that high wage rates were a major cause of prosperity. It then followed that wage rates must not be lowered during depressions. In contrast to all prior depressions, including 1920-21, when wage rates were cut sharply, wage-cutting was considered by Hoover to be impermissible and as leading to a failure in purchasing power and the perpetuation of depression. These views were to prove a fateful harbinger of the policies used during the Great Depression.

          One of Hoover's most important labor interventions during the 1920s came in the steel industry. He persuaded Harding to hold a conference of steel manufacturers in May, 1922, after which he and Harding called upon the steel magnates to bow to the workers' demand to shift from a twelve-hour to an eight-hour day. In doing so, Hoover was siding with the liberal wing of the steel industry, led by Charles R. Hook and Alexander Legge, whose plants had already instituted the shorter workday, and who of course were anxious to impose higher costs on their lagging competitors. When Judge Gary of United States Steel and other leading steelmen refused to go along, Hoover acted to mobilize public opinion against them. Thus, he induced the national engineering societies to endorse the eight-hour day, and himself wrote the introduction to the endorsement. Finally, Hoover wrote a stern letter of rebuke for President Harding, which Harding sent to Gary on June 18, 1923, forcing Gary to capitulate.

          Herbert Hoover also played a leading role in collectivizing labor relations in the railroad industry, thereby cartelizing that industry still further than before and incorporating railway unions within the cartel framework. After repeated and largely unsuccessful interventions to try to gain pro-union concessions during the railroad strike of 1922, Hoover became a major author – along with union lawyers Donald Richberg and David E. Lilienthal – of the Railway Labor Act of 1926, by which the railway unions got themselves established in the industry. The ancestor of the New Deal's Wagner Act, the Railway Labor Act, imposed collective bargaining upon the industry; in return, the unions agreed to give up the strike weapon. The great majority of the railroads warmly supported this new departure in American labor relations.(14)

"Herbert Hoover's entire program of activities as Secretary of Commerce was designed to advance the subsidization of industry and the interpenetration of government and business."

          In a major address before the United States Chamber of Commerce, on May 7, 1924, Hoover spelled out his corporatist views in some detail. He called for the self-regulation of industry by way of trade associations, farm groups, and unions. In a vein strongly reminiscent of English Guild Socialism, Hoover harked back to the Middle Ages for his model: the guilds, he asserted, obtained "more stability through collective action." The job of the associations was to strengthen "ethical standards" in industry by eliminating "waste" and "destructive competition." In short, Hoover was calling for the national cartelization of industry under the aegis of government.(15) Samuel Gompers hailed the address and considered this "new economic policy" to be the same as the newly forged position of the AF of L.(16)

          Herbert Hoover's entire program of activities as Secretary of Commerce was designed to advance the subsidization of industry and the interpenetration of government and business. As Hoover's admirer and former head of the United States Chamber of Commerce put it, Hoover had advanced the "teamplay of government with the leaders of character in the various industries."(17) Thus, Hoover expanded the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce fivefold, opening numerous offices at home and abroad. His trade commissioners and attachιs aided American exports in numerous ways. He also reorganized the Bureau along commodity lines, with each commodity division headed by someone chosen by the particular trade or industry, from the trade "he knows and represents."(18) Furthermore, Hoover promoted the cartelization of each industry by inducing each trade to create a committee to cooperate with the Department of Commerce, and to select the industry's choice for head of the commodity division. Officials in the Department were systematically recruited from business, to stay in the Department for a few years, and then to return to private business at higher-paying jobs.

          One favorite method of Hoover's for subsidizing as well as cartelizing exports was to foster the creation of export-trade associations. Thus, in 1926, Hoover repeatedly urged the coffee trade to band together and create a National Coffee Council, so that all American coffee buyers could join together to lower buying prices. Hoover and his aides craftily suggested to the coffee trade that one union leader and one woman consumer be named to the proposed Coffee Council as a public-relations device to relieve public fears of a cartel.(19)

          The difficulties of forming a coffee cartel proved insurmountable; but Hoover had more luck with the rubber industry, organizing it to fight British cartel restrictions on Asian rubber production that had been imposed in 1922. Hoover led the rubber industry in a drive to induce Americans to buy less rubber and hence to lower the price, as well as to promote American-owned sources of supply, by such means as government subsidies to new United States-owned rubber plantations in the Philippines.(20) An American rubber-buying pool was established in 1926, and lasted until the end of British restrictions two years later.(21)

          As soon as he assumed office, Hoover induced President Harding to pressure investment bankers to require that the proceeds of their loans abroad be used to purchase American exports. When little came of this pressure, Hoover began to threaten congressional action if the banks did not agree. For Hoover, the aim of subsidizing exports was so important that even unsound foreign loans that could serve this purpose were considered worthwhile.(22)

          Hoover's opposition to foreign "monopoly" did not of course prevent him from supporting a protective tariff in the United States, thus providing privilege to American domestic as well as export firms. During the 1920s, Hoover was also active in promoting the cartelization of the domestic oil industry. As an active member of President Coolidge's Federal Oil Conservation Board since its inception in 1924, Hoover worked in collaboration with a growing majority of the oil industry in behalf of restrictions on oil production in the name of "conservation." This was a "conservation," by the way, that was urged regardless of whether American oil resources seemed to be scarce or superabundant. Hoover was particularly interested in removing antitrust limitations on industrial cooperation in such restrictive measures.(23)

          In the field of coal, Hoover sponsored repeated attempts at cartelization. The first attempt was a bill in 1921 to establish a federal coal commission to gather and publish statistics of the coal industry, so as to publicize price data and thereby facilitate industry-wide price-fixing. Failing a commission, the Department of Commerce was eager to take on the task. However, this and a later scheme by Hoover to encourage marketing cooperatives in coal by exemption from antitrust laws, were defeated by the opposition of competitive low-cost Southern coal operators. Undaunted, Hoover, in 1922, prepared a full-fledged cartelizing plan. The idea was to establish unemployment insurance in the coal industry, so designed as to penalize in the cost of the plan the part-time and seasonal coal mines, and thereby to drive these higher-cost mines out of business. The coal industry would then form cooperatives, which would fix and allocate quotas on production, putting more mines out of operation, the owners to be compensated out of the increased cartel profits made by the rest of the industry. The district coal cooperatives were to market all the coal and then divide the revenues proportionately. But once again Hoover could not command the needed support from the coal industry and the public.(24)

          Hoover played a similar role in cartelizing the cotton textile industry. Favoring the "open-price" plan for stimulating price agreements, Hoover used his Department of Commerce to provide the price publicity that might be illegal for a trade association. Hoover also played a role in forcing the cotton textile industry to establish a nationwide rather than a regional trade association, to the delight of the bulk of the industry. Hoover repeatedly urged the many reluctant firms to join this Cotton Textile Institute, which gave promise of stabilizing the industry and eliminating "waste" in production. Hoover went so far as to endorse, in 1927, the CTFs plan to urge each of the member firms to cut production by a certain definite amount.(25)

          One of the clearest indications of how far removed Hoover was from laissez-faire was his leading role in nationalizing the airwaves of the fledgling radio industry. Hoover put through the nationalizing Radio Act in 1927 as a substitute for the courts' increasing application of the common law, granting private ownership of the airwaves to the first radio stations that put them into use.(26)

          One of the most pervasive and least studied methods by which Hoover helped to monopolize industry during the 1920s was to impose standardization and "simplification" of materials and products. In this way, Hoover managed to eliminate the "least necessary" varieties of a myriad of products, greatly reducing the number of competitive sizes, for example, of automobile wheels and tires, and threads for nuts and bolts. All in all, about three thousand articles were thus "simplified." The recommendations for simplification were worked out by the Department of Commerce with the aid of the eager committees representing each trade.(27)

          Hoover's approach to the farm question was consistent: a repeated emphasis on the cartelization of agriculture.(28) At first, the favored means was the subsidizing by government of farm cooperatives. Hoover helped write the act of August, 1921, which expanded the funds allotted to the War Finance Corporation and permitted it to lend directly to the farm co-ops. He also supported the farm-bloc bill for an extensive system of Federal Intermediate Credit Banks and a Federal Farm Loan Board, which were to lend federal funds to farm co-ops. In the Department of Commerce, he was able to help farm co-ops with marketing programs, and with aid in finding export markets.

          Hoover soon enlarged his ideas of farm intervention; he was one of the earliest proponents of a Federal Farm Board, designed to raise and support farm prices by creating federal stabilization corporations that were to purchase farm products and to lend money to farm co-ops for such purchases. And to this end, in 1924, Hoover helped write the unsuccessful Capper-Williams Bill. As a presidential candidate in 1928 he promised the farm bloc that he would promptly institute a farm price-support program.(29) It was a promise that he hastened to keep, for as soon as he became President, Hoover drove through the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1929. This Act created a Federal Farm Board with a revolving fund of $500 million to raise and support farm prices and to aid farm co-ops; the Board was to conduct its price-raising operations through stabilization corporations for the various commodities, with the corporations also serving as marketing agencies for the coops. Furthermore, Hoover appointed to the Board representatives of the various agricultural and farm co-op interests: a cartelization operated by the cartelists themselves.(30)

          Mobilizer and economic planner of World War I; persistent advocate of cartelization and government-business partnership in stabilizing industry; pioneer in promoting a pro-union outlook in industry as a method of insuring the cooperation of labor; booster of high wages as a sustainer of purchasing power and business prosperity; ardent proponent of massive public-works schemes during depressions; advocate of government programs to boost farm prices and farm co-ops; no one could have been as ideally suited as Herbert Clark Hoover to be President at the onset of a Great Depression and to react with a radical program of statism to be trumpeted as a "New Deal." And that is precisely what Herbert Hoover did. It is one of the great ironies of historiography that the founder of every single one of the features of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was to become enshrined among historians and the general public as the last stalwart defender of laissez-faire.

          Let us consider the New Deal – a rapid intensification of government intervention that began in response to a severe depression, and featured: cartelization of industry through government-and-business planning; bolstering of prices and wage rates; expansion of credit; massive unemployment relief and public-works programs; support of farm prices; propping up of weak and unsound business positions. Every one of these features was founded, and consciously so, by President Hoover. Hoover consciously and deliberately broke sharply and rapidly with the whole American tradition of a laissez-faire response to depression. As Hoover himself proclaimed during his presidential campaign of 1932:

. . . we might have done nothing. That would have been utter ruin. Instead we met the situation with proposals to private business and to Congress of the most gigantic program of economic defense and counterattack ever evolved in the history of the Republic. We put it into action. . . . No government in Washington has hitherto considered that it held so broad a responsibility for leadership in such times. . . . For the first time in the history of depressions, dividends, profits and the cost of living, have been reduced before wages have suffered. . . . They were maintained until the cost of living had decreased and the profits had practically vanished. They are now the highest real wages in the world.(31)

          Hoover began his "gigantic" program as soon as the stock market crashed on October 24, 1929. His most fateful act was to call a series of White House Conferences with the nation's leading financiers and industrialists, and induce them to pledge that wage rates would not be lowered and that they would expand their investments. Hoover explained the general aim of these conferences to be the coordination of business and government agencies in concerted action. Industrial group after group pledged that wage rates would be maintained. Hoover insisted that, contrary to previous depressions when wage rates fell promptly and rapidly (and, we might add, the depression was then soon over), wage rates must now be the last to fall, in order to prop up mass purchasing power. The entire burden of the recession, then, must fall upon business profits. The most important of these conferences occurred on November 21, when such great industrial leaders as Henry Ford, Julius Rosenwald, Walter Teagle, Owen D. Young, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Pierre du Pont pledged their cooperation to the Hoover program. These agreements were made public, and Hoover hailed them at a White House conference on December 5, as an "advance in the whole conception of the relationship of business to public welfare . . . a far cry from the arbitrary and dog-eat-dog attitude of . . . the business world of some thirty or forty years ago." The A F of L lauded this new development; never before, it proclaimed, have the industrial leaders "been called upon to act together . . ."(32) By the following March the AF of L was reporting that the big corporations were indeed keeping their agreement to maintain wage rates.(33)




1. Hoover's earlier career confirms this appraisal of his views; there is no space here, however, to analyze his earlier ideas and activities.
2. See Joseph Dorfman, The Economic Mind in American Civilization (New York: Viking Press, 1959), Vol. IV, pp. 26-28; Herbert Hoover, Memoirs (New York: Macmillan, 1952), Vol. II, pp. 27 ff; and Murray N. Rothbard, America's Great Depression (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand, 1963), p. 170 and Part III.
3. Hoover to Professor Wesley C. Mitchell, July 29, 1921. Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Two Lives (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), P-364.
4. Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 46; and Joseph H. McMullen, "The President's Unemployment Conference of 1921 and Its Results" (Master's thesis, Columbia University, 1922), p. 33.
5. On the lasting significance of government economic planning and "war collectivism" during World War I, see William E. Leuchtenburg, "The New Deal and the Analogue of War," in J. Braeman, R. H. Bremner, and E. Walters, eds., Change and Continuity in Twentieth-Century America (New York: Harper and Row, 1967), pp. 81-143.
6. See E. Jay Howenstine, Jr., "Public Works Policy in the Twenties," Social Research (December, 1946), pp. 479-500.
7. Playing a crucial role on this staff was Otto Tod Mallery, the nation's leading advocate of public works as a remedy for depressions. Mallery had inspired the nation's first such stabilization program, in Pennsylvania in 1917, and had been a leading official on public works in the Wilson Administration. He was also a leader in the American Association for Labor Legislation, an influential group of eminent citizens, businessmen, and economists devoted to government intervention in the fields of labor, employment, and welfare. The AALL, endorsing the Conference, boasted that the Conference's proposals followed the pattern of its own recommendations, which had been formulated as far back as 1915. Apart from Mallery, the Conference employed the services of nine economists who were also officials of the AALL. The AALL singled out for particular praise Joseph H. Defrees, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who appealed to business organizations to cooperate with the Conference's program, and to accept "business responsibility" for the unemployment problem. See Dorfman, op. cit., pp. 7-8; McMullen, op. cit., p. 16; and John B. Andrews, "The President's Unemployment Conference  – Success or Failure?" American Labor Legislation Review (December, 1921), pp. 307-310.
8. Eugene Lyons, Our Unknown Ex-President (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1948), p. 230.
9 See Daniel Fusfeld, The Economic Thought of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Origins of the New Deal (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956), pp. 102 ff.
10. Waddill Catchings was a prominent investment banker who founded the Pollak Foundation for Economic Research, with Dr. William T. Foster as director, Foster was Brewster's technical advisor at the Governor's Conference. Foster and Catchings had called for a $3 billion public-works program to iron out the business cycle and stabilize the price level. William T. Foster and Waddill Catchings, The Road to Plenty (Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1928), p. 187. Brewster's presentation can be found in Ralph Owen Brewster, "Footprints on the Road to Plenty – A Three Billion Dollar Fund to Stabilize Business," Commercial and Financial Chronicle (November 28, 1928), p. 2,527. Foster and Catchings reciprocated by praising the "Hoover Plan" a few months later. The Plan, they exulted, would iron out prices and the business cycle; "it is business guided by measurement instead of hunches. It is economics for an age of science – economics worthy of the new President." William T. Foster and Waddill Catchings, "Mr. Hoover's Plan: What It Is and What It Is Not – the New Attack on Poverty," Review of Reviews (April, 1929), pp. 77-78.
11. Herbert Hoover, "A Plea for Cooperation," The American Federationist (January, 1921). Also see the important work by Ronald Radosh, "The Development of the Corporate Ideology of American Labor Leaders, 1914-1933"' (Doctoral dissertation in history, University of Wisconsin, 1967), pp. 82 ff.
12 William English Walling, American Labor and American Democracy (New York: Harper & Bros., 1926), Vol. II: Labor and Government, cited in Radosh, op. cit., pp. 85 ff. Addressing the International Association of Technical Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen in May, 1921, Gompers spoke enthusiastically of the close "entente" that had developed between engineering groups and the AF of L. It was Gompers, furthermore, who persuaded Hoover to accept the presidency of the American Engineering Council.
13 Radosh, op. cit., p. 88n.
14 For a pro-union account of the affair by a leading participant, see Donald R. Richberg, Labor Union Monopoly (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1957), pp. 3-28.
15. In his book American Individualism, Hoover had hailed the growing "cooperation" and "associational activities" of American industry and the consequent reduction of "great wastes of over-reckless competition." Hoover, American Individualism (New York: Doubleday, 1922).
16. Samuel Gompers, "The Road to Industrial Democracy," American Federationist (June, 1921). Also see Ronald Radosh, "The Corporate Ideology of American Labor Leaders from Gompers to Hillman," Studies on the Left (November – December, 1966), p. 70. After Gompers' death in 1924, his successor, William Green, continued the close AF of L collaboration with Hoover. See Radosh, The Development of Corporate Ideology, pp. 201 ff.
17. Julius H. Barnes, "Herbert Hoover's Priceless Work in Washington," Industrial Management (April, 1926), pp. 196-197. Also see Joseph Brandes, Herbert Hoover and Economic Diplomacy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1962), p. 3.
18. Brandes, op. cit., p. 5.
19. Ibid., pp. 17-18, 132-139.
20. On Hoover's repeated urging of American oil companies to join in the development of petroleum in Mesopotamia, see Gerald D. Nash, United States Oil Policy, 1890-1964 (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 1968), pp. 56-57.
21. Harvey Firestone was the most enthusiastic rubber user backing the Hoover program, and also in organizing Americanowned rubber plantations in Liberia. The mighty U.S. Rubber Co., on the other hand, already owned large rubber plantations in the Dutch East Indies, which were not subject to British restrictions. U.S. Rubber was therefore the rubber user least enthusiastic about the buying pool. Brandes, op. cit., pp. 84-128. On Firestone's acquisition of Liberian land, see Frank Chalk, "The Anatomy of an Investment: Firestone's 1927 Loan to Liberia," Canadian Journal of African Studies (March, 1967), pp. 12-32.
22. See Jacob Viner, "Political Aspects of International Finance, Part II," Journal of Business (July, 1928), p. 339; Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 90. Also see Brandes, op. cit., pp. 170-191. Hoover also clashed with banks that made foreign loans to Germany, since he was worried about the loans building up competitors to American firms, especially chemical manufacturers. Ibid., pp. 192-195.
23. Nash, op. cit., pp. 81-97.
24. See Ellis W. Hawley, "Secretary Hoover and the Bituminous Coal Problem, 1921-1928," Business History Review (Autumn, 1968), pp. 247-270. Also see Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 70. During the coal strike in the spring of 1922, Hoover organized an emergency system of rationing and price controls. Harking back to his wartime experience, he established a network of district committees to hold down coal prices. After the typically Hooverian "voluntary" controls failed to work, Hoover called for governmental price-fixing, and by late September, Congress had passed a law appointing a Federal Fuel Distributor to enforce "fair prices."
25. Louis Galambos, Competition and Cooperation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), pp. 78-83, 102-103, 108, 114-115, 123, 128-129. The cotton textile industry urged Secretary Hoover to become the first president of their new Institute; as it was, the president was a man recommended by Hoover.
26. See in particular Ronald H. Coase, "The Federal Communications Commission," Journal of Law and Economics (October, 1959), pp. 30ff. Also see Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 139-142.
27. Hoover, Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 66-68.
28. In the case of salmon fishing, Hoover called for federal regulations from 1922 on. In that year he induced Harding to create salmon reservations in Alaska, thus cutting salmon production and raising prices. See Donald C. Swain, Federal Conservation Policy, 1921-1933 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), PP. 25 ff.
29. It was not only the farm bloc that wanted a nationally cartelized agriculture. Two of the fathers of the agitation for farm price support were George N. Peek and General Hugh S. Johnson, heads of the Moline Plow Company, one of the largest farm-equipment manufacturers. As such they were directly interested in the subsidizing of farmers. Big business in general was also enthusiastic, the farm price-support plan being warmly supported by the Business Men's Commission on Agriculture, established jointly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Industrial Conference Board. See Dorfman, op. cit., Vol. IV, pp. 79-80.
30. Chairman of the eight-man FFB was Alexander Legge, president of International Harvester Co., one of the major farmmachinery manufacturers, and like Peek and Johnson, a protege of financier Bernard M. Baruch since the days of the economic planning of World War I. Others represented on the Board were the tobacco co-ops, the livestock co-ops, the Midwest grain interests, and the fruit growers. See Theodore Saloutos and John D. Hicks, Agricultural Discontent in the Middle West (Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1951), pp.407-412.
31. Rothbard, America's Great Depression, pp. 169-186. One of the first observers who saw that the radical break with the past came with Hoover and not with F. D.R. was Walter Lippmann, who wrote in 1935 that the "policy initiated by President Hoover in the autumn of 1929 was something utterly unprecedented in American history. The national government undertook to make the whole economic order operate prosperously. . . . The state attempted to direct by the public wisdom a recovery in the business cycle which had hitherto been left with as little interference as possible to individual exertion." Walter Lippmann, "The Permanent New Deal," reprinted in R.M. Abrams and L.W. Levine, eds., The Shaping of Twentieth-Century America (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1965), p. 430. Similarly, the perceptive term "Hoover New Deal" was coined by the contemporary observer and economist Benjamin M. Anderson. See "The Road Back to Full Employment," in P. Homan and F. Machlup, eds., Financing American Prosperity (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1945), pp. 9-70; and Anderson, Economics and the Public Welfare: Financial and Economic History of the U.S., 1914-46 (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand, 1949).
32. The American Federationist (January, 1930). On the White House Conferences, see Robert P. Lamont, "The White House Conferences," The Journal of Business (July, 1930), p. 269.
33. The American Federationist (March, 1930), p. 344.