Front Page Titles (by Subject) Hoover as Regulator - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
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Hoover as Regulator - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Hoover as Regulator
“Hoover's Agricultural Policies, 1921–1928.” Agricultural History 51 (April 1977): 335–361.
Was Herbert Hoover an exponent of laissez-faire or an arch-regulator of the market?
Judged by standard works and recent monographs, historians have not given Hoover his due as an advanced regulator and liberal-corporatist in farm matters. Hoover's policies as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge were part of the general “search for order” (i.e., cartelization) and central planning of the economy characteristic of Progressivism. Viewing Hoover as a Progressive, we can discern the underlying ideological unity and continuity of Hoover and the New Deal in farm policy.
Unlike the narrow farm bloc spokesmen, including Henry C. Wallace, Hoover understood that simply propping up domestic prices and “dumping” (so-called) surpluses abroad could lead to complications. The disputes between Hoover and Wallace, and Hoover's criticism of the McNary-Haugen bill, reflected Hoover's relative sophistication on the limitations of simple government price supports, resulting from his wartime frustrations as Food Administrator under Woodrow Wilson.
Hence, Hoover tried to build up piecemeal a sort of decentralized corporatism based on government licensed marketing boards—the Federal Farm Board—to cartelize agriculture at the lowest level and avoid creating large bureaucratic entities. Another clash with Wallace reflected Hoover's belief that the Department of Commerce, and not the Agriculture Department, had the duty of promoting farm exports. Hoover's farm policies were designed to cut so-called “overproduction,” just as were his proposals in other sectors of the economy. Believing in U.S. self-sufficiency, Hoover—unlike some farm advocates—sought to rig the domestic market, rather than have U.S. farmers dependent on ever-expanding foreign markets.
This interpretation supports revisionist economic history by showing that the same basic impulse united Hoover and his opponents: the desire to sidestep markets and somehow circumvent Say's Law (by postponing consequences) through farm cartels as part of an overall system of government sponsored corporatism. Hence the 1920s were not laissez-faire or isolationist, and those policies were not tested and discredited by the Depression. This interpretation also shows why Hoover did not become so full-blown a corporatist imperialist in pursuit of foreign markets—because of his belief in domestic statist solutions and U.S. self-sufficiency.