gd logo




In 2002/3 John Jopling and I wrote

Gaian Democracies:

Redefining Globalisation and People-Power

This site introduces its key ideas and some associated topics


roy pic
Roy Madron 2005

Leading the Gaian Revolution: Commonsense for Desperate Times


Gaian Democracies: Redefining Globalisation & People-Power by Roy Madron & John Jopling

Roy Madron: Biography

Radio Interview with Jane Taylor, from Resonance FM

Email address: rm(at)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

The New Deal was the title that United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to a sequence of programs and promises he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving relief to the poor, reform of the financial system, and recovery of the economy during the Great Depression.

The "First New Deal" of 1933 aimed at short-term recovery programs for all groups. Based on the assumption that the federal government could solve the financial problems, the Roosevelt administration promoted or implemented: banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, and agricultural programs.

A "Second New Deal" (1935-36) was a more comprehensive redistribution of power and resources; which included: union protection programs, the Social Security Act, and programs to aid tenant farmers and migrant workers. The Supreme Court ruled several programs unconstitutional; however, some parts of these were soon replaced, with the exception of the National Recovery Administration).

Several New Deal programs remain active with some still operating under the original names, including the: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The largest programs still in existence today are the Social Security System and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The New Deal represented a significant shift in political and domestic policy in the U.S., with its more lasting changes being increased federal government control over the economy and money supply, intervention to control prices and agricultural production. This was the beginning of complex social programs and wider acceptance of trade unions.The success and effects of the New Deal still remain a source of controversy and debate amongst economists and historians.

The initial crash of the U.S. stock market occurred on Thursday October 24, 1929; then, on "Black Tuesday" October 29, the stock market fell even more than it had the week before. These events were the catalyst of a worldwide economic depression.

From 1929-1933, unemployment in the U.S. increased from 4% to 25%, manufacturing output reduced by approximately a third. Prices fell causing a deflation of currency values, which made the repayments of debts much harder. The mining, lumber, and agriculture industries were hit especially hard by the drop in values. The impact was much less severe in white collar and service sectors.

Upon accepting the 1932 Democratic nomination for president, Franklin Roosevelt promised "a new deal for the American people."

Throughout the nation men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government, look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth... I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms.

Roosevelt entered office with no single ideology or plan for dealing with the depression. In the "First New Deal" (1933-34) many organized liberal groups (except the Socialist Party, which was virtually destroyed) gained much of what they had demanded. This "First New Deal" was thus a blend of self-contradiction, pragmatism, and experiment. The economy eventually recovered from the low point of 1932, with sustained improvement until 1937, when the Recession of 1937 brought back 1934 levels of unemployment. Whether the New Deal was responsible for the recovery, or whether it slowed the recovery, has been disputed.

The New Deal policies drew from many different ideas proposed earlier in the 20th century. Some advocates, led by Thurman Arnold, went back to the anti-monopoly tradition in the Democratic Party that stretched back a century. Louis Brandeis claimed that monopolies were a negative economic force, because they produced waste and inefficiency. However, the anti-monopoly group never had a major impact on New Deal policy. Other leaders such as Hugh Johnson of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) took ideas from the Wilson Administration, advocating techniques used to mobilize the economy for World War I. They brought ideas and experience from the government controls and spending of 1917-18. Other New Deal planners suggested policy experiments of the 1920s, ideas from efforts to harmonize the economy by creating cooperative relationships among its constituent elements.

Roosevelt formed what he called the Brain Trust, a group of academic advisers to assist in his recovery efforts. They sought to introduce extensive government intervention in the economy instead of allowing laissez-faire to run its course. Donald Richberg, the replacement head of the NRA, said "A nationally planned economy is the only salvation of our present situation and the only hope for the future."

Historian Clarence B. Carson says:

At this remove in time from the early days of the New Deal, it is difficult to recapture, even in imagination, the heady enthusiasm among a goodly number of intellectuals for a government planned economy. So far as can now be told, they believed that a bright new day was dawning, that national planning would result in an organically integrated economy in which everyone would joyfully work for the common good, and that American society would be freed at last from those antagonisms arising, as General Hugh Johnson put it, from "the murderous doctrine of savage and wolfish individualism, looking to dog-eat-dog and devil take the hindmost."

The New Deal faced some vocal conservative opposition. The first organized opposition in 1934 came from the American Liberty League led by Democrats such as 1924 and 1928 presidential candidates John W. Davis and Al Smith. There was also a large but loosely affiliated group of New Deal opponents, who are commonly called the Old Right. This group included politicians, intellectuals, writers, and newspaper editors of various philosophical persuasions including classical liberals, and conservatives, both Democrats and Republicans.




Licenced under the Creative Commons regime



Roy Madron 2008