The Second Time as Farce: Archaeological Reflections on the New New Deal

  • LouAnn WurstEmail author
  • Christine L. Ridarsky


Many connections have been made between the Great Depression and the current crisis in neoliberal capitalism, and many solutions proposed by the Left hearken to FDR’s New Deal programs. While New Deal policies had real benefits, assuming that they were uniformly beneficial to all lower class individuals is shortsighted. This is clear from the vantage point of our research in the Finger Lakes National Forest. The New Deal’s Resettlement Administration purchased these farms when implementing land-planning policies to move farmers off “sub-marginal” land to save families “stranded on sub-marginal farms.” Our research demonstrates that governmental land-use programs saved some farms by sacrificing others. This case makes it clear that solving current crises need more than nostalgic yearning for a mythic past. Solutions must come from a thorough examination of the “real concrete” past, not simply the past as imagined.


New Deal Resettlement Administration Sub-marginal lands Farms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  2. 2.University of RochesterRochesterUSA

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