Smiley, Gene 1940-

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Smiley, Gene 1940-
(William Gene Smiley)


Born November 13, 1940, in Shenandoah, IA; son of William (a truck driver) and Marjorie (a homemaker; maiden name, Searl) Smiley; married Carol Ann Nelson (a teacher), December 18, 1971; children: Sara Elizabeth, Kristina Diane. Ethnicity:"Caucasian." Education: University of Iowa, B.A., 1967, M.A., 1970, Ph.D., 1973. Religion: Baptist.


Home—1104 E. Wabash Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186-6781. Office—Department of Economics, Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881. E-mail—[email protected]


Bradley University, Peoria, IL, visiting assistant professor of economics, 1972-73; Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, assistant professor, 1973-79, associate professor, 1979-94, professor of economics, 1994—, chair of department, 1982-85, 1988-91. Heartland Institute, policy advisor.


Economic and Business Historical Society (president, 1988; secretary-treasurer, 1998-2003), Economic History Association, Cliometrics Society, Wisconsin Economic Association.


Congoleum Corporation grant, 1978; Liberty Fund-Institute for Humane Studies fellow, 1983; Bradley Institute for Democracy and Public Values grant, 1987; Bowling Green State University Social Philosophy and Policy Center award, 2001.


The American Economy in the Twentieth Century,South-Western Publishing (Cincinnati, OH), 1994.

Rethinking the Great Depression: A New View of Its Causes and Consequences, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2002.

Contributor to books, including Essays on the Economy of the Old Northwest, edited by David Klingaman and Richard Vedder, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1987; Business Cycles and Depressions: An Encyclopedia,edited by David Glasner, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1997; and Calvin Coolidge and the Calvin Coolidge Era: Essays on the History of the 1920s,Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1998. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals and journals, including Journal of Economic History, Critical Review, Business History Review, Independent Review, Southern Economic Journal, and Reason. Associate editor, Review of Austrian Economics; contributing editor, Independent Review; member of board of advisors, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.


Economic historian Gene Smiley's areas of interest include the history of the post-Civil War financial system, the economy of the 1920s, theGreat Depression, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal economic revitalization policies. Smiley'sRethinking the Great Depression: A New View of Its Causes and Consequences examines why the worldwide economic downturn of the 1930s was so prolonged and so debilitating to the U.S. economy. According to Smiley, the worldwide downturn was sparked not by the failure of the stock market, but by the failure of governments. Problems were exacerbated in the United States because President Hoover raised taxes and tariffs. While he tried to keep wages high, Federal Reserve policies pushed them down, and an unemployment rate of twenty-eight percent resulted. Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard in order to stop the run on the banks, and business rebounded for a time, but in 1937 again began to fail, Smiley explains, because of tight Federal Reserve policy, the anti-business atmosphere, and militant unionism. In 1936, workers and businesses were hit with the new Social Security tax. In 1938, the economy suffered from more government intervention, including its deflationary policy, and a lengthy period of labor strikes.

Smiley's book, written for the general reader, was praised by Library Journal contributor Norm Hutcherson as an "insightful, well-written survey" that contains an "impressive and accessible" study of theNew Deal and puts forth a "plausible if provocative case" that the financial troubles of the period from 1929 to 1933—the actual economic depression—continued into the following decade and World War IIdue to mismanagement by uninformed or uneducated politicians. Ideas on Liberty reviewer George C. Leef wrote that Rethinking the Great Depression "does a splendid job of distilling earlier analyses into an account that will leave apologists for federal economic management looking for places to hide."



Booklist, July, 2002, Mary Whaley, review of Rethinking the Great Depression: A New View of Its Causes and Consequences, p. 1804.

Ideas on Liberty, September, 2003, George C. Leef, review of Rethinking the Great Depression, p. 41.

Journal of Southern History, May, 2004, David E. Hamilton, review of Rethinking the Great Depression,p. 465.

Library Journal, May 15, 2002, Norm Hutcherson, review of Rethinking the Great Depression,p. 105.