Depression

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. The Great Depression was a period of unprecedented decline in economic activity. It is generally agreed to have occurred between 1929 and 1939. Although parts of the economy had begun to recover by 1936, high unemployment persisted until the Second World War. Background To Great Depression: * The 1920s witnessed an economic boom in the US (typified by Ford Motor cars, which made a car within the grasp of ordinary workers for the first time). Industrial output expanded very rapidly. * Sales were often promoted through buying on credit. However, by early 1929, the steam had gone out of the economy and output was beginning to fall. * The stock market had boomed to record levels. Price to earning ratios were above…show more content…
Global Downturn. America had lent substantial amounts to Europe and UK, to help rebuild after first world war. Therefore, there was a strong link between the US economy and the rest of the world. The US downturn soon spread to the rest of the world as America called in loans, Europe couldn't afford to pay back. This global recession was exacerbated by imposing new tariffs such as Smoot-Hawley which restricted trade further. Different Views of the Great Depression Monetarists View Monetarists highlight the importance of a fall in the money supply. They point out that between 1929 and 1932, the Federal reserve allowed the money supply (Measured by M2) to fall by a third. In particular, Monetarists such as Friedman criticise the decisions of the Fed not to save banks going bankrupt. They say that because the money supply fell so much an ordinary recession turned into a major deflationary depression. Austrian View Austrian school of Economists such as Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises place much of the blame on an unsustainable credit boom in the 1920s. In particular, they point to the decision to inflate the US economy to try and help the UK remain on the Gold standard at a rate which was too high. They argue after this unsustainable credit boom a recession became inevitable. The Austrian school doesn't accept the Friedman analysis that falling money supply was the main problem. They argue it was the loss of confidence in the banking
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