This book challenges the commonly accepted view that governments enacted social reforms in the 1930s in response to demands for more equitable redistribution of wealth in a time of trouble, robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
Alvin Finkel demonstrates conclusively that Canadian big business was overwhelmingly in favour of more state intervention during the Thirties in the economic and social sphere. Private enterprise in Canada has always depended on government aid--capital grants, high tariffs, the repression of organized labour--and in the 1930s, the corporations' need for help was more acute than ever before. They realized that the capitalist system could not survive without legislated structural reforms that would provide safeguards for private investment and profit under the guise of social welfare.
Examining the emergence of an unprecedented intertwining of business and government mangement during the Depression, Business and Social Reform in the Thirties analyzes an inordinant concentration of power that remains with us today.