Implicit in this approach to the department's work was a close relationship to the industries it dealt with. It is well known that regulatory agencies often tend to be "captured" by the industries that they regulate. Hoover's concept of managerial efficiency tended to accentuate this tendency, since it was in industry that the government could find the requisite technical expertise. In the words of a contemporary business analyst, each division of the Department, tasked with regulating a particular industrial commodity, was "headed by an expert nominated -- in some cases actually voted on -- by the trade he knows and represents" (Brandes, 1962, p. 5). In Hoover's view this was less a "capture" than a natural partnership between government and industry.
In spite of his views regarding war debts, Hoover's contributions during his tenure as Secretary of Commerce during the Harding and Coolidge administrations were for the most part positive. Had he not become President in 1929, what Keynes said of him after the Versailles peace conference -- that he was the only participant to emerged with an enhanced reputation -- might well have been said of his role in economic policymaking in the 1920s.
More particularly, and in keeping with his general technocratic perspective, Hoover "believed that unless the country could enlist workers through a system of representation in the campaign to increase productivity and eliminate waste, it could never meet the demands of the postwar world" (Zeiger, 1981, p. 82). His concern, then, had much in common with recent theories of industrial efficiency and production quality that call for a cooperative rather than adversarial relationship between managers and workers. He was also conscious that the new, rationalized world of work, the traditional bonds that might have bound workers and employers together were breaking down and had to be replaced in some systematic way. "Industry must be humanized," he argued; firms had to "r