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The Great Depression Past and Present?

Updated on May 1, 2011

The Beginning of The Great Depression of 1929

When the New York Stock Exchange opened on the morning of October 24, 1929, nervous traders sensed something ominous in the trading patterns.

By 11:00 a.m. the market had started to plunge. Shortly after noon a group of powerful bankers met secretly at J.P. Morgan & Co. next door to the Exchange and pledged to spend $240 million of their own funds to stabilize the market.

(Sound Familiar?)

This strategy worked for a few days, but the panic broke out again the following Tuesday, when the market crashed again, and nothing could be done to stop it.

Before three months had passed, the Stock Market lost 40% of its value; $26 billion of wealth disappeared. Great American corporations suffered huge financial losses. AT&T lost one-third of its value, General Electric lost half of its, and RCA's stock fell by three-fourths within a matter of months.

(It would take 25 years for the stock market to return to its pre-crash level following the 1929 crash.)

Photo by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration-1936.

Read More About the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression of 1929

A Lesson Learned From The Great Depression

"Of all the lessons to have emerged from the Great Depression, this remains the most important: that inept or inflexible monetary policy in the wake of a sharp decline in asset prices can turn a correction into a recession and a recession into a depression."

~ From The Ascent Of Money by Niall Ferguson

The Ascent of Money - A Financial History of The World

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

- George Santayana

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Niall Ferguson follows the money to tell the human story behind the evolution of finance, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to the latest upheavals on what he calls Planet Finance.

Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot, lucre, moolah, readies, the wherewithal: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it’s the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it’s the chains of labor. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. What’s more, he reveals financial history as the essential backstory behind all history.

 

Your Thoughts About The Current Economic Crisis? - A Recession or A Depression? You Decide!

The decade of the 1930s found America facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history.

Millions of people were unemployed, two million adult men ("hobos") wandered aimlessly around the country, banks and businesses failed and the majority of the elderly in America lived in dependency.

Sound Familiar!?

Are We Headed For Another Great Depression?

Hello, Of course we are, Are You Paying Attention!

Hello, Of course we are, Are You Paying Attention!

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    • Ella 2 years ago

      I have exactly what info I want. Check, please. Wait, it's free? Awmsoee!

    • Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Quite likely. It's a scary thought, the way that so many countries are going bankrupt.

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      Just read the grapes of wrath so this stuff is real raw for me.

      Rob

      Business Ideas for Women | Good Business Ideas | Business Ideas for Beginners

    • Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Now instead of breadlines, we have food pantries that struggle to keep enough food on hand due to increased usage.

      We have more homeless people now than we did then. I think the job losses are greater and more far reaching now than they were in the Depression. As a nation, our problems are greater now for many reasons, including a different kind of health care system and living status.

    • bgamall lm 8 years ago

      Everyone says that deflation is not a threat but I don't think we are out of the woods. I hope we don't go into a great depression.

    • monarch13 8 years ago

      We need to act now to prevent a similar crisis!

    Nope, The Economy will turn around..

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      • E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

        Chronic recession. This is not approaching depression, but recovery is still a long ways off. Inflating th money supply even more with QEII is not the answer. We'll all have to suck down some bitter economic measures to get this thing straightened out.

      • Tom Fattes 8 years ago from Naperville, IL

        The great thing about the US is that our economy is self correcting if left to its natural courses. I also believe we intervened at the right time to prevent a Depression, but the recession is going to hurt for another 12-18 months.

      • hotbrain 8 years ago from Tacoma, WA

        It certainly will get worse this year (more foreclosures; more businesses closing; higher unemployment), but I believe that it will turn around, although it may take several years or longer... Probably not as bad as the great depression.

      • Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

        I am sure praying that it will turn around. I am not sure we all have what it takes to get through another Depression. It is scary times, for sure.

      The Bread Lines in 1929

      The Bread Lines in 1929
      The Bread Lines in 1929

      Video of The Depression and The New Deal - FDR and France Perkins

      Your Feedback and Thoughts?

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        • lollyj lm profile image

          Laurel Johnson 2 years ago from Washington KS

          I returned to reread this one. If my grandparents were alive today, they'd be planning and preparing for the next depression.

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          pawpaw911 6 years ago

          Your Winston Churchill quote on your bio, reminded me of what my Father used to tell us kids when we complained about what we had to eat. He used to say "it isn't what you want that makes you fat, it is what you get" Nice lens.

        • profile image

          GrowWear 6 years ago

          Living in poverty, especially like that of The Great Depression, would be a mind-sapping and demoralizing existence.

        • profile image

          GrowWear 6 years ago

          Living in poverty, especially like that of The Great Depression, would be a mind-sapping and demoralizing existence.

        • TonyPayne profile image

          Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

          Good look back to the 1920s. I really hope we don't all go down a similar plughole again.

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          nettymy2k10 6 years ago

          This is very interesting. This lens is perfect example of a material well written and packed with information. Thanks for sharing.

          FAP Turbo Expert Guide Facts

        • lollyj lm profile image

          Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

          Thanks for lensrolling my homeless in America lens here. This is an informative, excellent lens.

          In many ways, the political environment in our recent past is reminiscent of the Depression Era, just in a smaller way. I'm truly not trying to hawk my lenses, but you might enjoy reading my grandparents' memories of the years and presidential elections leading up to the Depression on Economy Lessons. Five, fave, and lensroll for your excellent lens.

        • bgamall lm profile image

          bgamall lm 8 years ago

          Great Lens. I hope you submit it to my palin sucks group because I take economic history in a separate featured lens grouping. Thanks for joining my fanclub! Gary

        • OhMe profile image

          Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          Very well done. We sure have to think about it whether we want to or not.