Monday, April 1, 2019

Murray N. Rothbard- 'The Progressive Era'

In looking for historical background and further research on the progressive era of the early 20th century, I've begun reading Murray N. Rothbard's book titled The Progressive Era and am currently about a third of the way through it. The reason I mention this is that Rothbard has already covered a hypothesis I proposed in an earlier post, The Great Robber Baron Swindle, in that the programs proposed by the progressives in the early 20th century were not to help the common man as advertised but the then growing statist ruling class. I further theorized that big businesses were at first opposed but later saw the obvious benefits government regulations in keeping out smaller competitors and became the willing champions of managerial state control over the business.

As previously noted, Rothbard did indeed confirm most of what I wrote that essentially yes, progressivism was a tool to advance greater levels of managerial state power but that first, Rothbard traces this back to the late 19th century and second, that big business recognized the advantages of statism for them and were in favor of it from the beginning.

I hadn't read Rothbard before and was unaware the he had explored this concept far earlier than I had and that was a bit disappointing as I never heard this hypothesis before and believed I may be plowing new ground here. Oh, well, it's true that there's nothing new under the sun and with so many more intelligent and better educated people out there doing research long before I was born, it's next to impossible to look at history from a new angle that nobody ever considered before. I should get out more could be a valid criticism but hey, there's so many books out there to read, one still has to find the relevant ones and only so much time to read them.

There again, finding some confirmation for my hypothesis, derived independently, does deserve a bit of credit but fear not, I won't overtax my arm in patting myself on the back.


Donald Cavaioli

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