FDR's Economic Bill of Rights

I was listening to a lecture on Roosevelt's program on my ride home today. This item from his economic bill of rights struck me as really bizarre:

"The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;"

Essentially, this simply removes farmers from the realm of competitive enterprise: no farmer may ever make a loss. (I guess they become like large investment banks today.) And without restricting entry (which Roosevelt may have planned to do), the amount of farmer's can just keep piling up way beyond what is needed, and they are guaranteed to keep making money.

Had anyone in the administration thought this through?


  1. Sure they thought it through. But not from the perspective of, "Will this promote Hayekian coordination?" (Oh wait, that paper hadn't been written yet.)

    For me the real question is, did they fully know how messed up it would be, so that they could then impose further controls on the "malfunctioning" market? E.g. in our time, I am fully convinced that the key players behind ObamaCare knew it would set the stage for demands for single payer in a few years after it fully kicks in.

  2. They got him re-elected three times. I'd say they thought things through pretty well.

  3. He probably meant it in a way that agricultural workers/farmers should get an income that keeps them above the poverty level at least at average.

    1. No, Roman, he talks about workers separately. He clearly wants to guarantee a certain price for farm products. Ultimately, his goal would involve nationalizing the agricultural industry.

  4. I think you're a little late to the punch on this one. The debate on that policy might be over ;-)


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