chapter  7
15 Pages

Power, Industry and the New Deal, 1933–35

Saving the banks opened the Hundred Days. The fight to save farmers opened the New Deal proper. But the heart of the American economy was neither finance nor farming but industry. It had almost stopped beating. The manufacturing index had fallen nearly 50 per cent from 110 in 1929 to 57 in 1932. The total value of all finished goods had fallen still more – from 38 billion to 17.5 billion dollars. Private construction – a key indicator of a healthy capitalist economy – had collapsed from 7.5 billion to a dismal 1.5 billion dollars. So a rise in farm prices without corresponding stimulation of industrial activity might be fatal. It would be, Moley warned Roosevelt, like heating an empty boiler.