Social Credit

Landlocked between Montana, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan, Alberta was known for its Social Credit government. Now, oil dominates media coverage. This map shows the extent of the oil sands in Alberta: the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Cold Lake Oil Sands, and the Peace River Oil Sands. Map: Normal Einstein, 2006.

Clifford Hugh Douglas (1879 – 1952) = Major Douglas, is credited as the founder of the social credit movement. He worked as an electrical engineer throughout the British empire. During World War I, he reorganized work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, a research institution located at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire, England. There he noticed that the costs of goods produced exceeded that paid in wages, salaries and dividends. This contradicted the prevailing economic theory of David Ricardo (1772 – 1823), that stated that all costs were distributed simultaneously as purchasing power.

The core of his economic argument was that the economic system was organized to maximize profits for those with economic power by creating unnecessary scarcity. One short, but interesting source that comments about this has been written by Janet Martin-Nielsen (1982 – ).

Douglas claimed there were three possible economic policy alternatives:

  • 1. To impose a system of thought and action.
  • 2. To provide employment.
  • 3. To provide goods and services.

Douglas felt most governments aimed at the first two policies. He aimed to satisfy the third. Because of this disparity between the flow of money and stated industry objectives, the delivery of goods and services, he began to apply engineering methods to the economic system.

This led Douglas to distinguished between values, costs and prices. He claimed that economists were obsessed about values. He considered values to be subjective, incapable of being measured objectively. He rejected money as a standard/ measure, of value, but regarded it as a medium of communication whereby consumers could direct the distribution of production.

Wealth is derived from the Old English wela = well-being. Douglas believed that all production should increase personal well-being. Production that does not directly increase personal well-being is waste = economic sabotage. Consumers pay for the costs of production, including waste. This results in wasted work. Douglas believed that this waste was directly linked to confusion about the purpose of an economic system, especially the mistaken belief that it exists to provide employment.

Douglas noted that the long-term consequence of a full-employment policy is a trade war, that typically leads to a real war. That is, full employment leads to excessive capital production (as expressed in the 21st century by extreme/ billionaire wealth). Where this does not use up all of the capital there is an opportunity for military build-up, Military buildup results in violence or an unnecessary accumulation of weapons.

The social credit admonition: He who calls for Full-Employment calls for War! was expressed by John Hargrave (1894 – 1982) leader of the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Hargrave was also a Quaker and a pacifist, but enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in World War I. This experience convinced him that modern civilization had failed, expressed in The Great War Brings It Home (1919), and a call for a character-building and physical training foundation, The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, in 1920, as a movement for all ages and genders, and a progressive alternative to the Boy Scouts. He was often regarded as a potential replacement as Chief Scout Robert Baden-Powell (1857 – 1941), at least until Baden-Powell expelled Hargrave from the scout movement.

Hargrave wrote The Fighting Programme of the Social Credit Party in 1939, although I rely on a second edition, published in 1941. It listed twelve points: 1. Finance = Establish a Sane Economic System; 2. Government = Make the Will of the People Effective; 3. Work = Abolish Unemployment and Wage Slavery; 4. Defence = Create Effective Defence Forces; 5. Food Supply = Regenerate the Soil; 6. Health = Regenerate the People; 7. Industry = Increase Mechanisation; 8. Building = Demolish the Slums: Build New Towns and Cities; 9. Transport = Reorganise the Transport System; 10. Education = Provide Equal Opportunity for All; 11. Culture = Make Leisure Available to All; 12. Foreign Policy = Abolish War. Through the rest of the book these points are explained in greater detail.

An aside: Hargrave was also a founder of one of the coloured shirt movements that followed the first world war, the Social Credit centrist green shirts. Juan Francisco Fuentes counts 10 green, 8 blue, 4 each black, grey and red, 2 brown, 1 white and 1 orange = 34 groups, of which 25 are right wing, 2 are centre and 7 are left wing. These included: The brownshirts or Sturmabteilung, the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s; Hirden, a Quisling/ Nasjonalsamling equivalent in Norway; the blackshirts or squadristi of the Italian Voluntary Militia for National Security, originally the paramilitary wing of the National Fascist Party but, after 1923, an all-volunteer militia in Italy under the fascists.

Much of the world entered a depression in 1929. In Canada, the Alberta Social Credit party was founded in 1934, in the middle of this depression. In the 1935 provincial election it won a majority government, remaining in power until 1971. It was initially led by Bible Bill, William Aberhart (1878 – 1943). Aberhart added a layer of evangelical Christianity to the economic mix. For this, and other reasons, Douglas was not impressed with this party’s interpretation of the principles outlined, and especially disliked the inclusion of economic content from Johann Silvio Gesell (1862 – 1930) a German-Argentine economist, and founder of Freiwirtschaft, an economic model for market socialism. Alberta Social Credit issued Prosperity Certificates = funny money, based on Silvio Gesell’s ideas.

In 1935, Hargrave started to work for the Alberta Social Credit party. It lasted one year. He returned to Britain in 1936.

After Aberhart’s death in 1943, Earnest Manning (1908 – 1996) took over party leadership. Manning was regarded as Aberhart’s religious protege and closest political associate. However, the party became increasingly socially and fiscally conservative, mainly due to Manning’s pragmatism. Manning was premier of Alberta from 1943 to 1968. As Wikipedia explains: Under Manning, Alberta became a virtual one-party province. He led Social Credit to an incredible seven consecutive election victories between 1944 and 1967, usually with more than 50% of the popular vote, and only once had to face more than 10 opposition MLAs.

The province of British Columbia, immediately to the west of Alberta, also formed Social Credit organizations in the early 1930s. This did not result in political influence, until the early 1950s, when the party formed governments between 1952 and 1991, except for the years 1972 to 1975, when the British Columbia New Democratic Party governed. Unlike Alberta, the emergence and continued popularity of Social Credit had nothing to do with depression relief. Rather it stemmed from a revolt against corruption involving a Liberal – Conservative coalition.

Leader of the party from 1952 to 1972 was W.A.C./ Cece/ Wacky Bennett (1900 – 1979), followed by his son Bill Bennett (1932 – 2015), who was premier from 1975 to 1986. The downfall of the party had its roots in the election of Bill Vander Zalm (1934 – ) as party leader.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Social Credit in British Columbia is its attempt to ride two horses simultaneously. It is both a free enterprise party, but also responsible for purchasing BC Electric and Blackball Ferries to form the backbone of BC Hydro and BC Ferries, respectively. Both are crown = government owned, corporations.

My interest in Social Credit stems from living in British Columbia from 1948 to 1980, where a Social Credit government was in power, for most of those years. I think one of the reasons for its popularity, was its investment in highways. These are especially important in mountainous areas of the world.

I particularly remember Phil Gaglardi (1913 – 1995), a Pentacostal minister from Kamloops, and minister of highways for most of my formative years. The provincial highways construction signs always ended with Sorry for the inconvenience and his name and title. His nickname, Flying Phil, came from his tendency to speed while driving and accrue speeding tickets. He was also noted for encouraging the provincial government to buy a Lear Jet, for use by ministers.

Social Credit no longer exists in Canada as a political party, and its economic philosophy is no longer regarded as important.

Currently, my interests in economic philosophy relate to alternative forms of economics that are better for the planet and living human beings, especially. When Trish and I first moved to Norway in 1980, it felt like a poorer society. That feeling did not last long, as oil infused the country with wealth. Some of the differences we noted were shorter working hours and longer holidays as well as (more) affordable houses. I am not happy with all of the changes made in the intervening forty plus years. In more recent years, the EV transition has been notable.

To understand how societies can transform themselves economically, I recommend the following books, in chronological order: Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (2010); Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level (2011); Mariana Muzzucato, The Entrepreneurial State (2013); Thomas Piketty, Capitial in the 21st Century (2016); Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist (2017); Mariana Muzzucato, The Mission Economy (2021); Thomas Piketty, Brief History of Equality (2022); Ingrid Robeyns, Limitarianism (2024).

Publication of this weblog post has been postponed from 2023-03-18 at 12:00 to 2024-03-23 at 12:00.

Antigonish Movement

Yes, this poster is too small to be legible, but it shows some of the thoughts regarding the Antigonish movement. I note that one gender and many ethnicities are under-represented. Hopefully in the 75 years since this poster appeared these issues have been addressed, and resolved.

Two quotations from Moses Coady:

If we are wise, we will help the people everywhere to get the good and abundant life… to become masters of their own destiny.

When you stop pioneering, you die.

I first became acquainted with the Antigonish movement, Saint Francis Xavier University (SFXU), and the Coady Institute (CI) when I was living in Halifax in 1975. Since the start of the internet age, I have periodically looked at websites related to these.

It is now a century since the Antigonish movement was started. Jimmy Tompkins (1870 – 1953) and Moses Coady (1882 – 1959) are generally regarded as its founding figures.  They were both Roman Catholic priests from the Margaree Valley on Cape Breton Island. They were double-cousins of each other, of Irish ancestry.

Tompkins was vice-rector then vice-president and prefect of studies at SFXU from 1907 to 1923. He offended Antigonish Bishop James Morrison (1861 – 1950) and was exiled to Canso, Nova Scotia. Here, he observed the plight of the fishing community and helped organize cooperative fisheries, stores, housing projects, and adult study groups. In addition, Tompkins started the first regional library in Nova Scotia, its first credit union and Tompkinsville (as it was commonly called) a cooperative housing association in Reserve Mines, about 15 km north east of Sydney. Tompkins can be considered the spiritual founder of the Antigonish movement.

The movement is named after the Antigonish diocese. It currently includes 99 parishes and mission churches in seven deaneries, located in Northeastern Nova Scotia, including all of Cape Breton Island. In 1924, the area experienced labour unrest, especially in the coals mines, and out-migration.  It was proving difficult to counteract these issues.  Coady was working on a project to put into practice his theory that: The short, quick, scientific way to progress in the world, even in the field of formal education of youth, was through the enlightenment and education of adults. He posed two questions: What should people do to get life in this community and what should they think about and study to enable them to get it? The basic technique of the Antigonish Movement–the formation of study clubs acting as crucibles in which co-operative group action was created through a persistent process of questioning, debate, education and learning–had emerged.

A seminary was established at Arichat on Isle Madame, accessible from Cape Breton Island, in 1853. In 1855, it was moved to Antagonish, on the Nova Scotia mainland, 100 km = 60 miles away and renamed St. Francis Xavier University. In 1928, Coady was appointed the first director of the extension department of SFXU.  In 1930, Coady and the extension department initiated local community actions, calling mass meetings and introducing study clubs.  Coady would speak at these meetings often and lectured the community on its failings; he then challenged them to ask key questions: What do we need and how can we get it? 

Coady’s book, Master of Their Own Destiny (1939) is available at the Internet Archive. After his death, the CI was opened at SFXU to continue his work in emerging nations. CI offers on-site and on-line educational programs with an emphasis on social change. The focus is on practice and participation, using learner-centered and asset-based methods with a potential for personal growth and social transformation.

Currently 12 on-site courses are offered at SFXU in Antigonish. These include Asset-Based and Community-Led Development: Theory and Practice which provides an opportunity to share and to learn about the principles, practices and tools that put local assets and action at the centre of development initiatives. This provides a time-out for participants to question conventional community development practices and beliefs, and to re-evaluate the role of institutions in stimulating and supporting genuine asset-based and citizen-led development (ABCD). Another on-site program has a focus on Community Led Solutions for Climate Change. Human-induced climate change is the most pressing global issue of our time. The course uses case studies from different regions of the world and draws on the experiences of participants, facilitators, local practitioners, activists and community members.

There are also twelve online programs offered by SFXU that use various communications platforms.

While all of these programs invite the participation of women, five of the twelve on-site and two of the online programs are specifically for women, without male participation. These are: Feminist Advocacy for Agency, Equity and Justice; Indigenous Women in Community Leadership; Towards Decolonial Feminist Leadership; Women’s Leadership for Community Development; and, Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development. The two online programs specifically for woman are: Feminist Leadership for capabilities, ecology and transformation; and, Resources and Tools for Working with Young Women Leaders.


  1. Life-long learning is important. Adult education opportunities need to be provided, including topics in economics related to asset management.
  2. People need a living wage. This is non-negotiable. Learn about this in context. This also means that there should be a maximum wage, and a ceiling on assets.
  3. People need control of the assets that affect their lives. At a minimum, this means producer co-operatives, consumer co-operatives, housing co-operatives and credit unions.
  4. Once the material needs of people have been met, spiritual needs can be worked on.


For the past 70 years I have tried to understand my place in the world. It has been confusing. To begin with, I had to separate an unknown nature, from a misknown nurture. Misknown? Yes, when my paternal Scottish roots turn out to be Scottish and Irish, the latter from Mohill, County Leitrim, and my maternal English roots turn out to be Scottish and English, with the Scottish probably from Roxburghshire in the Borders area. Yes, when my Protestant heritage is largely Catholic.

In this post I attempted to reveal my spiritual connection to the Antagonish Movement and the Margaree Valley of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The MacLellans settled there in 1795 or 1821 (sources vary). Some sources claim that the brother of my MacLellan ancestor was the Catholic priest for these Scottish immigrants.

For most of my life, I have known that the MacLellans had come from the Outer Hebrides. Barra, I was told. However, this turns out to be a fleeting moment on South Uist. Before that it was Swordland, on the mainland of Scotland. Swordland is a small hamlet in North Morar part of the Lochaber district of Highland Council Area. It lies on the northern shoreline of Loch Morar, about 1 km south of Tarbet. Alasdair visited this area in 2023, and found numerous MacLellans including several with the names Alasdair and Shelagh.

On Cape Breton Island, I was told the MacLellans lived in Sydney Mines. It turns out that this was just another stop, on a journey that led to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. They had actually lived in the Margaree Valley. I had been told that given name Alexander = Alasdair, in Scot’s Gaelic, was common, both meaning, helper of man. Another common given name was Archibald = Gilleasbuig, in Scot’s Gaelic, meaning servant of the bishop.

Nature? In 2017, I found out that my biological father, Percy Bradd (1914 – 1956) was also Catholic. My biological mother was Protestant. I chose to be a Unitarian, and then a Baha’i.

I am planning one last trip to Nova Scotia, scheduled for the summer of 2025. I was last there in 1976, close enough to fifty years earlier. I am looking forward to seeing Cape Breton again, especially visiting the Margaree Valley for the first time. On the Nova Scotia mainland, SFXU and Antigonish more generally, are intended places to visit. I am also looking forward to seeing how Halifax has changed.


The Technocracy Monad on a poster.

This weblog post investigates the history of Technocracy, with its potential to develop a New World Order into something unexpected by the vast majority of modern critics: a currency that results in greater equality, or at a minimum, eliminates the extremes of wealth and poverty. Here, some references to contemporary issues will also be made to help clarify the subject.

Technocracy is derived from the Greek words techne = skill and kratos = rule. Thus, it is government by skilled engineers, scientists and technicians as opposed to elected officials. It was opposed to all other forms of government, including communism, socialism and fascism, all of which function with a price-based economy.

Technocracy can trace its origins to the scientific autocracy of Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) and in the positivism of Auguste Comte (1798- 1857), sometimes referred to as the father of the social sciences. Positivism elevated science and the scientific method above metaphysical revelation. Technocrats embraced positivism because they believed that social progress was possible only through science and technology.

Technocracy as a social concept originated with William Henry Smyth (1855 – 1940), a California engineer, who used the term in Technocracy – Ways and Means to Gain Industrial Democracy (1919), published in the Journal of Industrial Management. Smyth wanted engineers and scientists to be included in decision-making processes. Even in the new millennium, there is an effort to silence the influence of engineers, scientists and technologists in decision making. One has only to see the situation at Boeing, where after its merger with McDonnell-Douglas, in 1997, the company moved its head office to Chicago in 2005, to restrict engineers from having influence over corporate decisions. This allowed the short-term interests of share-holders to be placed above the makers (and users) of its products.

Norwegian-American economist and sociologist, Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929), known for his criticism of capitalism, significantly influenced technocracy with an article, Engineers and the Price System (1921). Here he argued for the formation of a Soviet of Technicians, a precursor to a more socialistic organization of economic affairs.

As an early advocate of technocracy, Veblen was a member of the Technical Alliance, consisting of engineers, scientists and others in New York City. Veblen predicted business enterprises would decay once they encounter new inventions. Clayton Christensen (1952 – 2020) makes a similar point in The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997) where he describes disruptive innovation. A typical example is that of steam/ power shovel manufacturers, none of whom were able to survive the disruption that came with hydraulic excavators. In the 21st century, one sees signs that legacy automotive manufacturers, are incapable of competing with Tesla, BYD and others.

The technocracy movement criticized the price system as incapable of effective action. The technocrats proposed phasing out the price system and replacing it with a measurable energy unit, today, most commonly, the joule. If this is not used within a specified period of time, the currency expires. People then receive a new allocation based on new energy production quotas for the next period.

In the early 1930s, the depression stirred public interest in finding alternative solutions. One of the major characteristics that distinguishes technocractic organisations from others was its energy-based accounting system. Technocrats saw this as a mechanism to help the economy heal from the the crisis. However, the public interest in technocracy declined by the mid-1930s following the emergence of Franklin Roosevelt’s (1882 – 1945) New Deal, introduced to counter the depression. The New Deal involved public work and financial reforms introduced between 1933 and 1939.

Another challenge facing Technocracy and, as will be shown in a subsequent weblog post, Social Credit, is its anti-war attitudes. Governments, particularly in the 20th century, were often eager to use war as a solution for their problems. Thus, before the Second World War, technocratic organizations were banned in Canada due to their alleged opposition to war. The ban in Canada was lifted in 1943 when the organizations pledged their commitment to the war effort by proposing a program of total enrollment to any war.

Technocracy is considered undemocratic, since it allows people with technical expertise to make decisions, potentially against the will of the population. I fail to see how this differs significantly from political parties using experts in economics or business management to propose, justify then impose political decisions. Most political decisions are not based on principles, but on targeting groups to impact. Frequently, those targeted groups are those that make the most significant donations to a political party.

Several technocratic organizations were established immediately after the First World War, such as New Machines and the Soviet of Technicians. However, these organizations did not last long.

Technocracy, as a non-political philosophy, was started in the United States by Howard Scott (1890 – 1970) and Marion King Hubbert (1903 – 1989) in the 1930s. They proposed replacing government with technocrats, scientists and engineers who possessed the necessary skills and experience to manage the economy. They argued that a society headed by technical experts would be more productive and rational.

Hubbert, then a young geoscientist who would later (in 1948-1956) invent the now-famous Peak Oil Theory. Hubbert stated that the discovery of new energy reserves and their production would be outstripped by usage, thereby eventually causing economic and social havoc. Many modern followers of Peak Oil Theory believe that the 2007-2009 global recession was exacerbated in part by record oil prices that reflected the validity of this theory. However, attempts to find collaborative evidence of this, have proved futile.

Hubbert received all of his higher education at the University of Chicago, graduating with a PhD in 1937. He later taught geophysics at Columbia University. In 1933, Hubbert and Howard Scott formed an organization called Technocracy, Inc.

The principles of technocracy soon resulted in Hubbert and Scott also co-authoring Technocracy Study Course in 1934. This book is the root document to which most modern technocratic thinking can be traced. It can be downloaded at no expense. At is most basic, Technocracy postulated that only scientists and engineers are capable of running a complex, technology-based society. They argued that, because technology changed the nature of societies, previous methods of government and economy were obsolete. They disdained politicians and bureaucrats, who they viewed as incompetent. By utilizing the scientific method and scientific management techniques, Technocrats hoped to squeeze the massive inefficiencies out of running a society, thereby providing more benefits for all members of society while consuming less resources.

The other integral part of Technocracy was to implement an economic system based on energy allocation rather than price. They proposed to replace money with energy credits. This focus on the efficient use of energy hints at Technocracy being a sustainable ecological/ environmental movement in the United States.

In Technocracy Study Course, Hubbert & Scott state: Although [the earth] is not an isolated system the changes in the configuration of matter on the earth, such as the erosion of soil, the making of mountains, the burning of coal and oil, and the mining of metals are all typical and characteristic examples of irreversible processes, involving in each case an increase of entropy. (p. 49)

The modern emphasis on curtailing carbon fuel consumption that causes global warming and CO2 emissions is essentially a product of early Technocratic thinking. As scientists, Hubbert and Scott tried to explain (or justify) their arguments in terms of physics, especially the law of thermodynamics = the study of energy conversion between heat and mechanical work.

Entropy is a concept within thermodynamics that represents the amount of energy in a system that is no longer available for doing mechanical work. Entropy thus increases as matter and energy in the system degrade toward the ultimate state of inert uniformity.
In layman’s terms, entropy means once you use it, you lose it for good. Furthermore, the end state of entropy is inert uniformity where nothing takes place. Thus, if man uses up all the available energy and/or destroys its ecological basis, it cannot be repeated or restored ever again.

Howard Scott wrote an article that appeared in Technocracy Magazine in 1937-07. It described an Energy Distribution Card in great detail, declaring it a: means of accounting is a part of Technocracy’s proposed change in the course of how our socioeconomic system can be organized.

He further wrote: The certificate will be issued directly to the individual. It is nontransferable and nonnegotiable; therefore, it cannot be stolen, lost, loaned, borrowed, or given away. It is noncumulative; therefore, it cannot be saved, and it does not accrue or bear interest. It need not be spent but loses its validity after a designated time period.

At one point Technocracy showed an updated Energy Distribution Card. It was similar to a contemporary debit/ credit card, with an embedded microchip, that contained all the information needed to use the card. Of course there is no need to restrict this to that technology. A smartphone could equally well contain an Energy Distribution app. It was contended that a card/ app could provide a universal identification document. This also sheds light on a more negative aspect of Technocracy’s philosophy, which allowed each person to be monitored and accounted for, to track their consumption of energy, and their contributions to manufacturing processes.

Modern Carbon Markets

The modern system of carbon credits was an invention of the Kyoto Protocol and started to gain momentum in 2002 with the establishment of the first domestic economy-wide trading scheme in the U.K. After becoming international law in 2005, the trading market was predicted to reach $3 trillion in 2020. Graciela Chichilnisky (1944 – ), an Argentine American mathematical economist, and one-time director of the Columbia Consortium for Risk Management and a designer of the carbon credit text of the Kyoto Protoco: [Carbon credits are] therefore all about cash and trading – but it is also a way to a profitable and greener future. She does not elaborate on how this profitability and greenness are related. Indeed, these are meaningless soundbites, unfortunately. It is all about greed. The largest carbon traders are also the largest banks: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Bloomberg noted in an article Carbon Capitalists 2009-12-04: The banks are preparing to do with carbon what they’ve done before: design and market derivatives contracts that will help client companies hedge their price risk over the long term. They’re also ready to sell carbon-related financial products to outside investors.

Blythe Masters (1969 – ), the British fintec entrepreneur, with a bachelor’s degree in economics, who invented credit default swaps, was described by The Guardian newspaper (2008-09-20) as the woman who invented financial weapons of mass destruction. At the time, The Guardian was criticized for not giving her an opportunity to defend herself.

From 1995 to 2010, there were numerous articles advocating a carbon currency (CC). Below are some of those I have been able to find and read.

In 1995, Judith Hanna wrote Toward a single carbon currency in New Scientist, where she proposed: to set a global quota for fossil fuel combustion every year, and to share it equally between all the adults in the world.

In 2004, David G. Victor and Joshua C. House published A New Currency in the Harvard International Review. It stated: For those keen to slow global warming, the most effective actions are in the creation of strong national carbon currencies… For scholars and policymakers, the key task is to mine history for guides that are more useful. Global warming is considered an environmental issue, but its best solutions are not to be found in the canon of environmental law. Carbon’s ubiquity in the world economy demands that cost be a consideration in any regime to limit emissions. Indeed, emissions trading has been anointed king because it is the most responsive to cost. And since trading emissions for carbon is more akin to trading currency than eliminating a pollutant, policymakers should be looking at trade and finance with an eye to how carbon markets should be governed. We must anticipate the policy challenges that will arise as this bottom-up system emerges, including the governance of seams between each of the nascent trading systems, liability rules for bogus permits, and judicial cooperation. The article concludes that: after seven years of spinning wheels and wrong analogies, the international regime to control carbon is headed, albeit tentatively, down a productive path.

In 2006, UK Environment Secretary David Miliband spoke to the Audit Commission Annual Lecture and flatly stated: Imagine a country where carbon becomes a new currency. We carry bankcards that store both pounds and carbon points. When we buy electricity, gas and fuel, we use our carbon points, as well as pounds. To help reduce carbon emissions, the Government would set limits on the amount of carbon that could be used.

In 2007, Hannah Fairfield wrote When Carbon Is Currency that appeared in the New York Times . She pointedly stated “To build a carbon market, its originators must create a currency of carbon credits that participants can trade.”

PointCarbon, a consultancy, partnered with Bank of New York Mellon to assess rapidly growing carbon markets. In 2008 they published “Towards a Common Carbon Currency: Exploring the prospects for integrated global carbon markets.” This report discussed environmental and economic efficiency, in a similar context to that of Hubbert in 1933.

On 2009-11-09, the Telegraph (UK) presented an article “Everyone in Britain could be given a personal ‘carbon allowance.’” It stated: … implementing individual carbon allowances for every person will be the most effective way of meeting the targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It would involve people being issued with a unique number which they would hand over when purchasing products that contribute to their carbon footprint, such as fuel, airline tickets and electricity. Like with a bank account, a statement would be sent out each month to help people keep track of what they are using. If their “carbon account” hits zero, they would have to pay to get more credits.

On 2010-01-26, Patrick Wood published an article titled, Carbon Currency: A New Beginning for Technocracy? Global currency replacing all paper currencies, limiting manufacturing, food production and people movement. Wood discusses a proposed new Carbon Currency, designed to support a radically different economic system based on energy production and consumption, instead of price. The era of fiat currency = irredeemable paper currency, was introduced in 1971 when President Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994) decoupled the U.S. dollar from gold. Almost all other currencies eventually followed.
This approach is essentially technocracy, as seen through new eyes. Both want to find a more equatable currency that reduces poverty, encourages population reduction, reduces environmental hazards and global warming, and allocates energy and goods more equitably.

Some concepts are poorly explained in the article. For example, how will a CC allocate available energy to people? The energy supply chain is dominated by a global elite, that interacts with with energy providers and energy consumers. It is unexplained why and how this elite will abdicate its role in providing energy. Related questions will have to be asked about manufacturing, agriculture and services. It is understandable that many people want to be part of the allocation process. Wood notes that local currencies could remain in play for a time, but states that they would eventually wither and be fully replaced by the [CC], much the same way that the Euro displaced individual European currencies over a period of time. Wood has obviously misunderstood how the Euro became the currency of much of Europe. It did not evolve, it replaced national currencies on 1999-01-01.

Wood does bring up some other interesting facts, including literature influenced by Technocracy, including: Aldous Huxley’s (1894 – 1963) in Brave New World (1932), especially its scientific dictatorship; H.G. Well’s (1866 – 1946)The Shape of Things to Come (1933); and, George Orwell’s (1903 – 1950) 1984 (1949).


Technocracy expanded the use of entropy to include social entropy. This unscientific and previously unknown term, was postulated to increase social efficiency by allocating available energy then measuring subsequent outputs to find a state of equilibrium.

In Technocracy Study Course, Hubbert & Scott, on p. 238-239 show how Technocracy proposes to allocate energy. People/ adults/ citizens (sometimes)/ residents (other times)/ would receive Energy Certificates (ECs) in order to operate the economy. These would be recorded by an agency called the Distribution Sequence, and be a matter of public record. Purchases of goods or services would require an individual to surrenders ECs. This allows a single organization to produce and distribute all goods and services: With this information clearing continuously to a central headquarters we have a case exactly analogous to the control panel of a power plant, or the bridge of an ocean liner.

Technocracy admits that control of a currency results in a controls of an economy, and its overlaying political structure. Energy-based accounting could fundamentally change world economic and political systems.

I had read in some forgotten source, that Technocracy is now growing rapidly in Europe and other industrialized nations: For instance, the Network of European Technocrats was formed in 2005 as “an autonomous research and social movement that aims to explore and develop both the theory and design of technocracy.” The NET website claims to have members around the world.

This is undoubtedly an exaggeration. NET had very few members. Full disclosure: I was a member! A few insignificant organizations, even with websites, cannot create/ implement a new global energy policy. They can barely dent the old. They may gain some influence on modern energy thinking, with a focus on Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory, introduced in 1954. Much of the ecological/ environmental movement incorporates Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory, along with an emphasis on global warming. John Walsh concluded: The issue of peak oil impinges directly on the climate change question. (see John H. Walsh, “The Impending Twin Crisis – One Set of Solutions?, p.5.)

Technocracy likes to emphasize two key differences between price-based money and ECs: 1) money is generic to the holder while EC are individually registered to each citizen, and 2) money persists while ECs expire. This second feature would greatly hinder, if not altogether prevent, the accumulation of wealth and property.

At the start of WWII, Technocracy’s popularity dwindled as economic prosperity returned.

A map of the North American Technate, with some unexpected countries. Howard Scott with two other unidentified people. Location: unknown. Date: unknown. Photographer: unknown.

Smoke screens

Technocracy brings with it a number of irritations.

Technocracy’s original focus was exclusively on the North American Technate. Yet, membership was only open to American and Canadian citizens, despite this Technate having an unusual composition. In addition to Canada and USA, it also included: Greenland, Iceland, St Pierre and Miquelon, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, as well as Venezuela. One wonders if Venezuela’s massive oil wealth influenced this cartographic aberration.

When I look at the map of the North American Technate (shown in the background in the above photo), I always wonder if petroleum engineers with American citizenship will have a far too dominant influence. In a transition from a price-based to an energy-based economy, I wonder if corporate loyalty to wealthy oil companies will have an undue influence on these individuals, and their scientific reasoning.

The second problem this map brings forward is the assignment of energy costs. Take the cost of transporting perishable foods to Nunavut, and other remote areas. These are normally air-freighted in. Who will bear the energy costs? Will it be only those living in the north, or will these costs be distributed over the entire Technate? In searching Technology literature, I have not found any answers.

In a Scandinavian context, people have often been encouraged to buy locally produced foods. This meets considerable opposition. Take tomatoes. In Scandinavia the only practical way to grow tomatoes is in greenhouses. This is increasingly the way they are grown in other places, in more southerly locations. The main difference between two such places is the heating costs which, in the north, far exceed transportation costs.

At one time, I was a proponent of multispecies grazing, at least theoretically, since I have no practical knowledge of farming. This involves grazing two or even three species of livestock together on pasture land, typically sheep, cattle and goats. A diverse range of plant species encourages a diversification of grazing animals. Cattle prefer taller, coarse grasses, sheep prefer shorter species (including grasses), while goats browse woodier species. Because species’ preferences vary, multispecies grazing can work without negatively impacting animal performance or plant sustainability.

However, what I note is that local farmers do not even attempt to engage in multispecies grazing. Part of the reason can be the excessive cost of providing shelter (read: barns) for animals, which are specific to each species. In addition, it is cheaper to import feed from South America, and other distant places, than to encourage animals to use existing pasture land.

Hannah Fairfield wrote When Carbon Is Currency which appeared in the New York Times on 2007-06-06. The article reflects back on 2003, when George E. Pataki, then New York’s governor, invited governors of 10 other states from Maine to Maryland to discuss a program to cut power plant emissions. All but one of the states joined the program; Pennsylvania has observer status.

The article looks at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, over the course of three years. The program sets a cap on the total amount of carbon that the 10 states — as a whole — can emit. Starting in 2009, each state will receive a set amount of carbon credits for its power plants, and each plant must have enough allowances to cover its total emissions at the end of three-year compliance periods.

Officials have closely watched the European Union, which started its carbon trading market in 2005. To build a carbon market, its originators must create a currency of carbon credits that participants can trade. In Europe, power companies received these credits directly and could buy or sell from one another as needed. But most companies passed the cost of the credits on to consumers even though they received them free, giving the companies windfall profits.

Participants in the United States want to avoid that problem by selling some or all of the credits at auction, with the proceeds going to state energy efficiency programs. In Europe, energy credits have been complex because of the many businesses wanting to earn offset credits. To avoid this complexity in the north-east, the program limits offsets to five categories: capture of landfill gas, curbs on sulfur hexafluoride leaks, planting of trees, reductions in methane from manure, and increased energy efficiency in buildings. Power companies can offset 3.3 percent of a plant’s total emissions from any combination of the five categories.

In discussing Carbon Currency, Technocracy often positions itself as the originator of the idea, equating it with Technocracy’s Energy Certificates (ECs). These ECs originally applied at the Technate = continental level, where they acted as an exchange mechanism. While there was discussion about a more equitable distribution of energy, there was no discussion about the consequences of CO2 emissions.

When I read this article, I discovered that New York State was one of only two jurisdictions to use a 20-year time horizon to account for the damaging effects of planet-warming gasses. Others use 100 years.

Fast forward to 2021, and New York has a new governor, Kathy Hochul (1958 – ), who wants to take less aggressive action to slash greenhouse gasses. According to her, New York’s law was the most ambitious statutory mandate requiring emissions reductions when it passed in 2019. It required emissions to be reduced by 40 % from 1990 levels by 2030 and by 85 % by 2040, with the remainder offset. It also requires zero-emissions electricity by 2050.

This legislation makes methane = the main component of natural gas, more potent than under the longer accounting timeline. Some say the shorter timeline more accurately reflects the short-term warming impact of greenhouse gasses, and the urgency around reducing emissions.

The latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned global action is not happening quickly enough to avert some of the most damaging potential effects of a warming planet.

New York is unique in using three factors that increase the emissions that have to be reduced: the 20-year metric, out-of-state upstream emissions from imported fuels and biogenic emissions from burning fuels like wood and ethanol.

I have an appreciation of all three measures, but will comment only on one. My irritation is sparked by Inderøy municipality allowing a wood burning heat distribution centre to be built in its most densely populated area. They did not even bother to examine the PM2.5 levels, arguing that wood is a natural product, and that burning it is, somehow, natural.

A photo showing a Technocracy car in gray, with red detailing. I remember these vehicles from my childhood. Location: looks like somewhere near San Francisco. Date: unknown. Photographer: unknown

Howard Scott quotations

In the original publication of this post there was a quotations allegedly by Howard Scott cited. However, it is difficult to vouch for its authenticity. Thus, it has been removed. All of the following quotations below have been found in Wikiquote, with sources provided.

We owe nothing in our origins from Adam Smith, Ricardo, Pareto, Proudhon, Bakunin, Karl Marx, Lenin, or any of the rest of the political philosophies. We do owe a debt to J. Willard Gibbs, Nikola Tesla, Steinmetz, Mac and John Rusk, and a thousand other American chemists, engineers, scientists, and technologists. Howard Scott interviewed at Radio station KYW, 1964-11-19.

A number of engineers became so-called disciples of Frederick W. Taylor, even though he had passed on to his reward in 1915. A considerable number of engineers took up the so-called scientific management of Frederick Taylor and further embroidered it and publicized themselves as efficiency engineers and management consultants. Henry L. Gantt had been Taylor's assistant at the Midvale Steel and the Bethlehem Steel Company. Gant, Morris L. Cook, Leffingwell, Emerson, H. K. Hathaway, Frank B. Gilbreth, Harlow S. Person and C.G. Barth were among the many prominent advocates of Taylor's efficiency system with some variations. Howard Scott, History and Purpose of Technocracy in Northwest Technocrat (1965-07) p.7

Gant, Barth and others tried to start an organization, ' 'The New Machine." ' 'The New Machine" never got off the ground; all of them wrote articles and delivered papers in the engineering societies and management conferences. But their chief purpose was in creating a national image so they could sell their services to large-scale private enterprise as scientific managers and efficiency engineers who would be able to install the system that could extract more productivity from the American worker.
Howard Scott, "History and Purpose of Technocracy" in Northwest Technocrat (1965-07) p. 7

We never had any use for Taylor or any of the efficiency or scientific management crowd. They never realized that human toil was the last thing in the world you had to be efficient about; the only way to be really efficient is to eliminate it entirely, and this would have been heresy to any of the Taylor, Gant, Barth, Cook efficiency crowd.

It is sad to contemplate that men of the technical ability of the names mentioned in this paragraph were so lame in their thinking and social outlook that they missed the boat so completely. Who in hell wants to be efficient with a shovel, and what sense would there be even if you succeeded? They should have had their heads opened with a shovel; it might have been more effective. Howard Scott, "History and Purpose of Technocracy" in Northwest Technocrat (1965-07) pp.7-8

The technological concepts of Technocracy are completely beyond any of the political and social philosophies, from Adam Smith, Ricardo, Proudhon, Bakunin, Karl Marx, Lenin and various other promulgators of rightist and leftist political philosophies. Howard Scott, "History and Purpose of Technocracy" in Northwest Technocrat (1965-07) p. 23

Quotes about Howard Scott

Technocracy originated in the winter of 1918-19 when Howard Scott formed a group of scientists, engineers, and economists that became known as the Technical Alliance--a research organization. Howard Scott was chief engineer of this group. The Alliance lasted about fourteen years. Its membership embraced many of America's top scientists and engineers, including such personalities as: Frederick Ackerman, architect; Leland Olds, statistician; Thorstein Veblen, economist; L. K. Comstock, electrical engineer, and Charles Steinmetz. It conducted what became known as the famous 'Energy Survey of North America.' Out of the survey, and under the guiding genius of Howard Scott, there emerged a completely new way of looking at life and human affairs. The social assets and liabilities (in a physical sense) of North America were laid bare for the first time. The social trends and tendencies were analyzed scientifically and for the first time in history a continental area (North America) had a glimpse of its future, or at least of the broad alternatives.Technocrat (1976), Nr. 257-271

The technocrats made a believable case for a kind of technological utopia, but their asking price was too high. The idea of political democracy still represented a stronger ideal than technological elitism. In the end, critics believed that the socially desirable goals that technology made possible could be achieved without the sacrifice of existing institutions and values and without incurring the apocalypse that technocracy predicted. William E. Aikin, Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocracy Movement 1900-1941, University of California Press (1977), p. 150.

Technocracy's heyday lasted only from June 16, 1932, when the New York Times became the first influential press organ to report its activities, until January 13, 1933, when Scott, attempting to silence his critics, delivered what some critics called a confusing, and uninspiring address on a well-publicized nationwide radio hookup.Howard P. Segal, Technological Utopianism in American Culture, Syracuse University Press(2005), p. 123.


This post has been in development since about 2010, as anyone can see from the numerous quotations dated immediately prior to this year. The topic has been messy to work with, mainly because content would disappear from sites, and only sometimes reappear on other sites. With hindsight, I note that I should have made copies of all of the content. I didn’t, and my time machine has been ineffective in bringing me back to prior events.

Originally, there were two organizations representing Technocracy in North America: Technocracy, Inc., located for most of my life at 2475 Harksell Road, Ferndale, Washington, 98248. There were also American branches in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California. Earlier, there were other branches, particularly along the American east coast. However, these had been disbanded by the time I took an interest. Thus, it always appeared to me as a left-coast phenomenon. Currently, the head office appears to be located in a post office box, at Huntington Beach, California. It’s website can be found at to which redirects.

A sister organization in Canada, had its head offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, about 70 km north-west of Ferndale. I remember Technocracy from my childhood, especially when taking the Pacific Stage Lines bus from New Westminster to downtown Vancouver along Kingsway. Just after crossing the boundary from Burnaby into Vancouver, on the south (odd-numbered) side of the 3700-block Kingsway, one encountered a large monad (yin-yang) sign in red and grey, proclaiming Technocracy’s Canadian headquarters. That block was redeveloped in 1976, when the Telus boot, was built. This boot was an unusually shaped office tower that, for a period, became the head office of Telus, previously known as the British Columbia telephone company.

Other signs of Technocracy’s presence in Vancouver were its grey cars, with red detailing. Presumably, these were privately owned vehicles. However, they were marked with an identification number. Section numbers were important in Technocracy. Most began with 123. The section number for Vancouver was 12349, which combined longitude 123 West with latitude 49 North. Portland used 12342.

At some point the Canadian headquarters moved to 2946 272nd Street, Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada V4W 3R4. This is about 40 km away from Ferndale, navigating the border at Blaine, Washington/ Douglas, British Columbia. The direct line distance is only about 20 km. At one time, the Vancouver Technocracy website could be found at: It no longer exists.

Publication of this weblog post has been postponed numerous times, most recently from 2023-03-11 at 12:00 to 2024-03-09 at 12:00. After this last postponement, I told myself that if this post needed to be postponed further, it would never be published!

Original color transparency of FDR taken at 1944 Official Campaign Portrait session by Leon A. Perskie, Hyde Park, New York, 1944-08-21.

This weblog post is being published on the 140th anniversary of the birth of FDR = Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945), who became the 32nd American president. There will undoubtedly be many other commemorative writings today, although probably less than will be found on this date, in 2032. Many of these will focus on his contributions during the second world war. Some may even mention the paralysis in his legs, at the time attributed to polio.

In this post, I want to focus on FDR and the New Deal, nothing more.

The term new deal was first used by Mark Twain = Samual Clemens (1835 – 1910) in his novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). The work is a satire of -isms, with feudalism and monarchism juxtaposed capitalism and industrialism. Here engineer Hank Morgan is transported back in time, but fails in his quest to modernize and democratize 6th-century England. “. . here I was, in a country where a right to say how the country should be governed was restricted to six persons in each thousand of its population. . . I was become a stockholder in a corporation where nine hundred and ninety-four of the members furnished all the money and did all the work, and the other six elected themselves a permanent board of direction and took all the dividends. It seemed to me that what the nine hundred and ninety-four dupes needed was a new deal.

The political term New Deal was coined by FDR’s advisor, Stuart Chase, (1888 – 1985), an American economist and social theorist. Chase was influenced by political economist Henry George (1839 – 1897), Norwegian-American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929), by Fabian socialists, perhaps especially Sidney Webb (1859 – 1947) and Beatrice Webb née Potter (1858 – 1943) and by the Soviet social and educational experiments made in the name of communism around 1930.

I hesitantly suggest that FDR is the greatest American president of the twentieth century. The term greatest is used comparatively, in relation to other presidents. It does not mean that I condone all, or even most, of his actions. His attitude to non-European races was, in general, revolting. In particular, I find the relocation/ internment of Japanese Americans repulsive; his initial support of Nazi Germany repugnant; even his extra-marital relationships were regrettable. Some Norwegians may be surprised to learn that FDR’s son, James, stated that “there is a real possibility that a romantic relationship existed” between his father and Crown Princess Märtha (1901 – 1954) of Sweden/ Norway. Other sources propose/ document many other women.

In many ways, FDR appears better when he is compared with his immediate predecessor Herbert Hoover (1874 – 1964). Indeed, Hoover is usually ranked in the bottom third of American presidents.

Yet, because of my particular interests, Hoover deserves credit for: his mother’s origins in Norwich, Ontario; his Quaker background; his Oregon background; his relationship to Palo Alto, including his Stanford education; his relief work in Belgium and his leadership of the American Relief Administration, which provided food to people in central and eastern Europe; his regulation of radio and air travel; and, his support of standardization, “own your own home”, an eight-hour workday and union membership.

However, Hoover was a racist; an optimist despite multiple economic threats, including a farm crisis, a saturated market for consumer goods, growing income inequality, and excessive stock-market speculation. He was reluctant to regulate banks, a characteristic shared with his predecessor, Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933); viewed lack of confidence in the financial system as the fundamental economic problem; avoided direct federal intervention, believed that supporting individuals economically would weaken the country. Instead, he believed that charity and local governments should address these needs.

A year before FDR took office, 1932-02-27, an important piece of legislation was enacted: An Act to Improve the Facilities of the Federal Reserve System for the Service of Commerce, Industry, & Agriculture, to Provide Means for Meeting the Needs of Member Banks in Exceptional Circumstances, & for Other Purposes. With such a long title, it is not surprising that it is referred to as the Glass–Steagall Act. It separated commercial and investment banking, and did much to regulate securities, typically stocks and bonds.

FDR was elected in 1932-11 but took office in 1933-03, at the worst moment of the worst depression in American history. With a total population of about 125 million, one quarter of the workforce was unemployed, farm prices had fallen by 60%, industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929, two million people were homeless, 32 of the 48 states and the District of Columbia, had closed their banks.

FDR’s presidential program is often referred to as 3-Rs: relief, recovery, and reform. Relief, providing support to tens of millions of unemployed; recovery, normalizing the economy; reform, applying long-term fixes.

The New Deal refers to a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted between 1933 and 1939, as laws passed by Congress as well as presidential executive orders. Regulated areas included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Support was provided for major groups: farmers, the unemployed, youth and the elderly. Banks faced new constraints and safeguards, with a goal of re-inflate the American economy after a sharp fall in prices.

Many historians and others distinguish between a First New Deal (1933–1934) and a Second New Deal (1935–1936).

One of the first items that the First New Deal dealt with was the American banking crisis. This involved the enactment of the Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933, and the Banking Act of 1933.

On 1933-03-06 the Emergency Banking Relief Act dictated a four-day national banking holiday that kept all banks shut until Congress could act. The federal government inspected all banks, re-open those that were sufficiently solvent, re-organize those that could be saved, and closed those that were beyond repair. FDR gave a fireside chat to explain the situation. Americans returned 1 billion previously withdrawn dollars to banks the following week.

On 1933-06-16, the Banking Act legislated 1) a federal system of bank deposit insurance, that protected most people; 2) the further separation of commercial and investment banking, with restrictions placed on speculative bank activities.

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) provided $500 million = over $10 billion in 2022, for relief operations by states and cities. The CWA gave money locally to operate make-work projects in 1933–1934. The Securities Act of 1933 was enacted to prevent future stock market crashes. NIRA set up the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to eliminate cut throat competition by bringing industry, labour and government together to create fair practices codes and set prices. The Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional.

The Second New Deal in 1935–1936 included the National Labor Relations Act to protect labour organizing, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) relief program, which made the federal government the largest employer in USA. The Social Security Act and programs to help tenant farmers and migrant workers, also benefited people. The final major items of New Deal legislation were the creation in 1937 of the United States Housing Authority and the Farm Security Administration (FSA), followed by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set maximum hours and minimum wages for most categories of work.

An economic downturn in 1937–1938 led to a split between the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Only the CIO supported FDR and its membership was open to African Americans. This confrontation allowed Republicans to make gains in Congress in 1938. By 1942–1943, conservatives of both parties had managed to shut down relief programs such as the WPA and the CCC and blocked other proposals.

While African Americans had to deal with the depression, they also faced social ills, such as racism, discrimination and segregation. They typically held the most marginal of jobs. Most unions excluded them from joining. Anti-discrimination laws were often unenforced, especially in the South. The WPA, NYA and CCC relief programs allocated 10% of their budgets to the African American population (who comprised about 10% of the total population, and 20% of the poor). They operated separate all-black units with the same pay and conditions as white units. In general, benefits for minorities were small compared to that received by the European descendent population. FDR appointed an unprecedented number of African Americans to second-level positions in his administration, often referred to as the Black Cabinet.

The New Deal also discriminated against women, by created programs for breadwinners, husbands/ providers, assuming that whole family would benefit. This failed to take into account households headed by women. When the discriminatory aspects of this policy came to light, the government began to modify policies to help women as well.

After the death of FDR, both Republican and Democratic presidents left the New Deal legacy largely intact, even expanding it in some areas. After 1974, however, there was an increasing demand for deregulation of the economy, that gained bipartisan support.

The New Deal regulation of banking was compromised starting in the 1970s when bank regulators began interpreting the Glass–Steagall act (later upheld by courts) that permitted commercial banks to engage in investment banking activities. Even in the 1960s some financial products blurred the distinction between the two areas.

Separately, starting in the 1980s, Congress debated bills to repeal some Glass–Steagall’s provisions. In 1999 Congress passed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, that repealed them. Democratic party President Bill Clinton signed it into law.

In 2022, several New Deal programs still remain active. Those operating under their original names include: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Social Security System and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are the largest programs still operating.

Ray Allen Billington and Martin Ridge have assessed the Impact of the New Deal, especially in their book, American History After 1865 (1981). Not all economists and economic historians are in agreement.

They contend the New Deal harmed the United States: by increasing federal debt. However, Keynesians counter that the federal deficit between 1933 and 1939 averaged only 3.7% which was not enough to offset the reduction in private sector spending; increased bureaucracy, inefficiency, and enlarged the federal government; slowed civil service reform; reduced opportunities of businesses to engage in free enterprise. New Left critics point out that it also squandered an opportunity to nationalize banking, railroads and other industries. They also criticize it for doing too little for minorities.

Neutral effects include a stimulation of class consciousness among farmers and workers; and brought to prominence economic regulation issues, especially where these came in conflict with personal liberties.

Billington and Ridge find the most beneficial aspect of the New Deal, is that it allowed the US to survive the depression without undermining its capitalist system. They also claim that the capitalist system, and the banking system in particular, became more beneficial by enacting banking and stock market regulations; created better income balance between labour in agriculture and industry; distributed wealth more equitably; conserved natural resources; and, established a precedence for the national government taking action to rehabilitate and preserve America’s human resources.

From my increasingly European economic perspective, Americans have through the past almost ninety years diluted the New Deal. Governments, of whatever colour, increasingly expect ordinary citizens to subject themselves to market forces, but exempt large corporations, especially banks, resulting in capitalism for individuals and families, but socialism for corporations. I do not believe that this was FDR’s vision.