Thursday, May 24, 2007

The more things change ...

One of my favorite IHT features is their "In Our Pages" section. Seventy-five year ago today, they ran "Changes in Capitalism."

"ATLANTA: Calling for a radical and far-reaching change in the entire economic structure of the U.S., Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of N.Y., in an address here tonight [May 24], advocated national social planning that will achieve "a more equitable distribution of national income." Departing from the deep-rooted doctrines of either political party, Governor Roosevelt borrowed liberally from the Socialist party's handbook, asserting that capital in the future must be content with a smaller return and give labor more and that the country needed and demanded a social program that called for "bold and persistent experimentation." The governor argued that the country can no longer afford an economic life controlled by a "small group of men whose chief outlook on social welfare is tinctured by the fact that they can make huge profits by lending money and borrowing securities. It is common sense to take a method and try it," he said. "If it fails admit it frankly and try another, but above all try something that the millions in want do not have to stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach."

He did not cite climate change and the need for energy independence. Otherwise, we hear very similar sentiments from FDR's 2007 successors.