By Edward Angly, copyright 1931
Following is the text and illustrations in journalist Edward Angly�s classic book from 1931, Oh Yeah?, along with similar modern quotes regarding the financial meltdown of 2008. This book is a collection of quotes, from just before the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929, from various politicians and other proponents of a trust for business, saying why people should have faith in this. In both the original book and here, the statements of air-headed confidence are in black, and the statements of what reality actually was are in red. Labor lawyer Jim Oleske�s recent book Yeah, Right, a collection of similar quotations on the Great Crash of 2008, is based on Oh Yeah?. The worldview of both of these is basically the same. The modern quotes that follow the same lines of trying to �be positive,� are plentiful.
Oh Yeah? was re-published, in 1988, by the Frasier Publishing Company, which publishes books on how to invest with savvy. 1988 would have been a great time to re-publish this book for the public in general, since then we were hearing plenty of messages that a laissez faire economy where a good deal of the new economic activity was in the fields of finance and investment, was the formula for success. Yet if the public had taken caution about this, that would have seemed whiny, negativist, defeatist, etc. On the other hand, if investors who want to be savvy have the same skepticism toward their own investments, this caution would seem to be something perfectly legitimate. Average people could be expected to contrive optimism about their own physical efforts, but not investors about their money. As the Ronald Reagan�s Political and Cultural Folklore: The Puritan And Frontier Traditions And The �Third Half Of The Pie� webpage says, �But Reagan sticks to his reading of history. His folklore tells him that laissez-faire �has worked before and will work again.� When has it worked before? After 1929, when the anti-regulatory, anti-intellectual conservatism of Harding and Coolidge did much to create the Great Depression?� so both the supposed pro-freedom themes, and the anti-intellectual themes, were also at work leading up to the Great Depression (which would also mean that they�d still be there after the economy suddenly crashed, and people would still be expected to take care of themselves optimistically and not care about anything more abstract or analytical than that).
In 1935, Keynes wrote:
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.
The same has to be true today, since anti-intellectualism still seems very practical, all must care about what happens in our economic system, and we play such a passive role toward it that no one can figure it out for certain.
Of course, the differences between 1929 and 2008, do make a big difference in what constitutes �productive thinking.� Now we know what to expect after the financial speculators panic. Also, this time around, it suited those in the Republican administration in charge during the panic, to say that this posed the risks of another Great Depression, since telling the public this was necessary to get the big financial bailout for their friends on Wall Street. Yet certain dynamics do have to hold true regarding both panics, such as that just about everyone has to maintain a �positive attitude� that they�ll get what they deserve, and, therefore, that they deserve whatever they get.
Sure, stock exchange president Richard Whitney said in 1930, �There have been too many suave statements that reassure nobody, too many empty platitudes, too great a lack of frankness and realism, too much of an attitude of trying to whistle in the graveyard at midnight.� Yet, as cognitive therapist Dr. Albert Ellis would have written in his Guide to Rational Living, the difference is that whistling in the graveyard at midnight wouldn�t do the person any good, but choosing to have a �positive attitude� during any economic depression, would. In fact, this courage and confidence may even be necessary. The more time that goes by in the near future, the more that we�re going to discover, not only the price of this ideology that treats cutthroat competition as just another way in which market discipline is enforced since that�s the way in which our economy is �organized,� but how much the ideology led to this. Such investigations weren�t done just after the Great Depression began, but now they will be. Now, as time goes on, the following quotes from the current financial crisis, as well as their parallels with the Great Depression, will become more and more salient. In fact, this is how our society is organized, in that those who don�t fulfill their personal response-abilities to get things back to normal and keep things functioning, are treated as if they�re abdicating their personal responsibilities.
At the end of this series of webpages, is the preface of Wall Street Under Oath, a book from 1939, by Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel for the investigation of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, 1933-1934. This tells of how, when the book was copyrighted, in 1939, spokesmen from Wall Street were talking like Ayn Rand cultists, �Frequently we are told that this regulation has been throttling the country�s prosperity.... You will be assured that they had nothing to do with the misfortunes that overtook the country in 1929-1933; that they were simply scapegoats, sacrificed on the altar of unreasoning public opinion to satisfy the wrath of a howling mob blindly seeking victims.� And, of course, those who are this anti-freedom would be reviled. And, since this is the sort of message that plenty of powerful Americans and other Westerners would cheer, it�s inevitable that Wall Street will give it again regarding this crash.
The more time that will pass in the near future, the more graphic evidence of this will become graphically known. For example, on October 23, 2008, during the Congressional hearings in which Alan Greenspan John Snow and Christopher Cox testified on the failures of regulation that led to the financial meltdown, Chairman Henry Waxman asked Greenspan,
The question I had for you is you had an ideology. You had a belief that free, competitive�and this is shown�your statement, �I do have an ideology. My judgment is that free, competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies. We have tried regulation, none meaningfully worked.�
That was your quote. You have the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others. Now, our whole economy is paying its price. You feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?
For example, Greenspan testified, �Governor Gramlich who, frankly, is regrettably deceased, but was unquestionably one of the best governors I ever had to deal with�came to my office and said that he was having difficulties with the problem of what really turned out to be fairly major problems in predatory lending.�
The calligraphy on these webpages is
or German calligraphy (far more Goth than Gothic calligraphy is), which came directly off of Nazi documents and publications, since Fraktur sets the mood for the aggressive destructiveness of what led to the meltdown. For example:
(This was the newspaper of Julius Streicher, who was sentenced to death at Nuremberg, and said when he was about to be hanged, �Heil Hitler!� and, �The Bolsheviks will hang you one day!� so he obviously had ultra-Goth tastes!)
Also, this looks a lot like Fraktur:
Also, as Leo M. Tilman�s book on how to run a business in the New Economy, Financial Darwinism, would put it, Fraktur is:
�I hasten to laugh at everything, for fear of being obliged to cry.�
�The Barber of Seville,
ACT 1, SCENE 2
�You can�t fool all of the people all of the time.�
The Presidential Campaign, 1928
Lines of the Times
The Stock Exchange Presidents
Lines of the Times (Again)
The President and the Bankers
Lines of the Times (And Again)
A Calendar for 1931
Preface of Wall Street Under Oath