Bildung: The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939


Morris L. Cooke, the central figure of the Taylor Societ,) can stand for a homogeneous praxiological habitus, milieu, and network: the Keynesian Elite  (see Fig. 2).  Cooke was active in the Brookwood Labor College, Conference for Progressive Political Action, and had an extensive correspondence with A. J. Muste, who played an important role in the Toledo Auto Lite Strike of 1934.  Brookwood supplied a large number of its students into the fledgling UAW, including Victor Reuther . . .   

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FDR, on the other hand, stands for the ontological heterogeneity of his Administration, as the site of fundamental conflict between competing elites (Fig. 1), as the scene of emergent functions and institutional formations (NLRB, NRPB, etc.), and the locus of synthesis of elite competition into a homogeneous form of hegemony over the population: the Cold War and anti-Communism(1).  The guise in which this appears today [[2009]] is The War on Terror.   It is utterly naive to conceive of FDR or any modern President as a unitary, homogeneous agent.  (pre-operational ontology: the morally acountable individual and nothing else.)

These competing elites are in part defined by the input-ouput matrices (really existing markets, praxiological flows) of the major sectors of the American political economy (Fig. 1).  Such matrices are shorthand ways of referring to inputs of money, raw materials, intermediate goods, and services; and outputs of raw materials, intermediate goods, finished goods, and services. For three examples, see below: Figure 5. Taylor Society, 1927: Mass Distribution, input-output flows; Figure 6.  Taylor Society, 1927: Mass Housing, input-output flows; and Figure  13.  Local companies, designers, and laborers that worked on the Northern Life Tower.


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This page is primarily about the most dynamic and modern of these sectors within the Administration of FDR, and is based on research at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the FDR Library. But because The Keynesian elite emerged in conflict with older networks of power, something must be said about them.

The Securities bloc was the object of analysis by Louis D. Brandeis in his book Other People's Money.  Brandeis used the results of the Pujo Committee's Investigation of Financial and Monetary Conditions in the United States (see Pujo Committee Interlocking Directorates 1912). A defining moment in the conflict between the emerging mass consumption sector and the Securities bloc was the Eastern Rate Case of 1910, out of which emerged the Taylor Society.  (see unfinished tables here.)  Brandeis can be considered the godfather of the Keynesian elite.

Commodities in International Trade includes much of the transportation and services infrastructure primarily dependent on such trade and thus belongs to the imput-output matrix of the latter: shipping, railroad, insurance, legal and other services.  (see W. Averill Harriman Wiki article).  Elliot A. Rosen, Hoover, Roosevelt, and the Brains Trust: from Depression to New Deal (Columbia University Press, 1977), although not conceptualizing it as such, gives a compelling description of Commodities in International Trade in action around the candidacies of Al Smith and Newton Baker.  Also see Irving Katz, August Belmont; a political biography (Columbia University Press, 1968). 

Keynesian Elte in the New Deal State
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The Keynesian Elite: Habitus, Milieu, Network


The place to really get a feel for the psychological-developmental ethos of Bildung and the Will to Power is in the documents listed below, all of which are available on the Internet:

The Eastern Rate Case: Evidence Taken by the Interstate Commerce Commission in the Matter of Proposed Advances in Freight Rates by Carriers, August to December 1910, Senate Doc. 725, 61 Cong., 3 Sess.   This can now be read online.  Below are some excerpts.


The Bulletin of the Taylor Society

The Papers of Morris L. Cooke (FDR Library)

LaFollette Committee Hearings.  Establishment of National Economic Council. Hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Manufactures, United States Senate, Seventy-second Congress, first session, on S. 6215 (71­st Congress) a bill to establish a National Economic Council. Printed for the use of the Committee on Manufactures.

Otis L., Jr. Graham, An Encore for Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal (Oxford, 1967)

Alon Gal, Brandeis of Boston (Harvard University Press, 1980)

Bruce Allen Murphy, The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices (Oxford, 1982)

Milton J. Nadworny, Scientific Management and the Unions, 1900‒1932 (Harvard, 1955)

Jean Trepp McKelvey, AFL Attitudes toward Production, 1900-1932 (Greenwood Press, 1952)

Landon R.Y. Storrs, The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Roosevelt's Purge : How FDR Fought to Change the Democratic Party

Figure 8a.  Eastern Rate Case: Shippers Association, 1910: Chicago subset
Mass Consumer-Oriented Firms
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Figure 8b.  Eastern Rate Case: Shippers Association, 1910: Chicago subset
Mass Housing Supply Firms & Diversified Capital Goods
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ERC: New England Witnesses
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Figure 5.  Taylor Society, 1927: Mass Distribution, input-output flows
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Figure 6.  Taylor Society, 1927: Mass Housing, input-output flows
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Figure 7.  Taylor Society, 1927: Machinery
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Figure 4.  The Taylor Society: Non-Mfg Organizations, 1927
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