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The New Deal—which started as a response to another kind of Wall Street disaster—could serve as a model of public investment. At the Graduate Center, historians, urban planners, politicians, city activists, social scientists and labor leaders met to imagine a new New York City. What would a new New Deal look like?

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Improving the lives of the poor and the working class, as they saw it, could make the whole economy grow. In that same spirit, Wallace envisions a massive public investment program that would revitalize the economy while making economic growth more equitable. He hopes for federal investment in affordable housing, high-speed rail, alternative energy sources and the Second Avenue subway.


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By , public works projects in New York City employed more than , people, who constructed hundreds of parks, municipal swimming pools, playgrounds and the Central Park Zoo—not to mention almost new police and fire stations. New Deal agencies hired artists, writers and actors, viewing them as workers, not dilettantes.

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Thousands of workers in all kinds of occupations—garment workers and office workers alike—organized industrial unions. On a national scale, there were deep flaws in the New Deal, especially in its racial and gender politics. But, especially in New York City, the New Deal contained the promise of a utopian vision of a society driven by human need and collective purpose instead of private wealth. The first New Deal, after all, was won only after a century of struggle. As Nelson Lichtenstein suggested at the conference, the New Deal was more than public spending on highways and playgrounds.

It was born of the men and women who sat down at Flint and streamed into industrial unions, who marched on Washington for sustenance and work. This near-revolution was fought bitterly in the s by conservative businessmen, and its remnants are still under attack today—in every supply-side tax cut, every antiunion campaign.

No amount of warm enthusiasm could generate agreement at the Graduate Center about how to move forward. But there was consensus on one point: An egalitarian politics has yet to rise from the ruins of lower Manhattan.

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Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal – By Kim Phillips‐Fein

BE Uploaded By greg. This book highlights the men that brought about change in the economy that the average American has heard little about. At a time where the people of the United States needed help most, these important leaders pushed their conservative thoughts towards the nation in order to change the economic thought on American finances.