The Stock Crash Essay

754 Words 4 Pages
The Stock Crash

It was 1929, and in the United States things could not be better for those smart enough, or for that matter, brave enough, to gamble on the Stock Market. All of the big stocks were paying off handsomely, the little ones too. However, as much as analysis tried to tell the people that this period of great wealth would last, no one could imagine what would come of the United States economy in the next decade. The reasons for this catastrophic event in American 20th century history are numerous, and in his book, The Great Crash, John Kenneth Galbraith covers the period and events which lead up to the downward spiral in the fall of 1929 and the people behind the scenes on Wall Street who helped this fire spread. One
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As explained in the book, holding companies controlled large proportions of such facets of the economy as railroads, utilities and the entertainment businesses. This brought on the constant danger of devastation by reverse leverage. This meant that money made by these operations was used to pay interest on the bonds of the holding companies. Thus, when there was a break in the money coming in, companies could not make payments and were forced into bankruptcy, which trickled down the ladder. The third reason given was the bad banking structure which was in place in the 20's and into the 30's. Banks at this time were run individually, thus, when a bank failed or went belly up because of aggregate deposits, it started a domino effect. In 1929 alone, 346 banks closed their doors, leaving people out in the cold, with no money, money which they had trusted in the hands of these banks. This of course left the people with a bad taste in their mouths, and caused them to stop putting money in banks, relying instead on the bottom side of their mattresses. The bad running of banks ties into corruption also. The men who ran banks, men like Charles E. Mitchell, were more interested in keeping the stock market boom going rather then the health of the banks which they ran. These men kept interest rates low and gave bad loans to people who mostly had no hope of ever paying back. The fourth reason stated was the dubious state of the foreign balance. During the 20's, America

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