Saturday, June 8, 2013

The unfinished project of the New Deal

Saw today (again, but this time with my son) Capitalism a Love Story. At the end there it was Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights as a reminder of unfinished business. Below the most important part from the State of the Union address.
The whole speech can be read here. In the essential the Bill of (Economic) Rights asked for:
"In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed. 
Among these are: 
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation; 
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; 
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; 
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; 
The right of every family to a decent home; 
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; 
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; 
The right to a good education. 
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being."
And we are still waiting for implementation.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great speech by FDR. However, I found Capitalism: a Love Story largely disappointing. I haven't seen all of his movies, but I think that Michael Moore has a way of going off on tangents rather than honing in on what's central. Portraying the bailout as the quintessence of "capitalism", for instance, is fairly sloppy--surely, a critique must get at the habitual and routine workings of the system, not extraordinary blips--and the stunt of going to the banks to "collect" the bailout money reinforces the popular idea that all current spending comes out of previous tax receipts.

    The concluding line, "It's called... democracy" struck me as a particularly banal choice. Democracy polls well on the left and right alike, sure, but that's precisely because it does not have any necessary economic or distributional implications -- it is compatible with the most repugnant private tyrannies, up to and including slavery.

    (Apologies for the rant. I saw the movie some time ago and have never had occasion to discuss it.)


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