Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Great Depression of '29

Grandpa had me sit down at the computer one day for the purpose of an economic lesson he wanted me to learn. It was a video that presented a speech by Lawrence Reed about the "Great Depression of 1929". As I started to watch it grandpa told me to keep in the back of my mind the policies of our present government and President as they address the recession we are in today.

Mr. Reed presents the argument that it wasn’t free enterprise that failed us. Government intervention was the cause. Maybe a more accurate statement would be that it was government intervention that prolonged the Depression. We must remember that the Depression of ’29 was not the first and only depression that our economy had suffered through. It was just the longest one.

He debunks three popular beliefs of today.
1. That Herbert Hoover was a free enterprise advocate and that, in fact, one of the laws enacted during his administration should be seen as a contributor of the Depression.

2. That Roosevelt was the great savior that is so popularly believed and written in the history books. He lied to the people and actually went against the Democratic platform that he ran upon.

3. That it was the war that brought us out of the Depression.

Before I go any farther I want to say to all of my friends on the left that I know who and what Lawrence Reed is, so there is no need of wasting both of our times by the accusation of bias. He is as firm of a free enterprise advocate as grandpa is.

Mr. Reed is the President Emeritus of the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy. This is a think tank that focuses primarily on economics and is located in, of all places, Midland Michigan.

With that said here is the link to the video entitled "Lessons from the Great Depression." It is just over an hour long and the introduction begins at 6:30 into the video.

For those of you who do not have the time to sit and listen to the speech you can find a pdf download of the speech entitled "Great Myths of the Great Depression"

While I know that it won’t change anyone’s mind in regards to the Depression but I do think it is well worth listening to or read and compare it to present day policies being put into place. This may be a time in history that determines how well we have learned the lessons of the past.

10 comments:

Karen Howes said...

Dang, Griper, I was going to do an entry about how FDR's New Deal worsened and prolonged the Depression, and how FDR basically stepped all over the Constitution to get his statist policies implemented.

I'll watch the vid. :-)

The Griper said...

like i said, do so with the idea of the present government and their solution to the problems of this recession.

BB-Idaho said...

Yup, I always thought Hoover should have nipped it in the bud. :) BTW, I take no reponsibility for the great depression; however, right after I was born, WWII started..probably all my fault!

The Griper said...

nah, BB, can't let you shoulder all the blame. i'll shoulder half of it.

that's what the Republicans did, even tho they were against entering the war at the time, so i have read.

BB-Idaho said...

Economics befuddles me, but will wade in anyhoo..
The 'great' depression was a worldwide affair. Different countries were hit in varying degrees, and they responded differently. A measure of citizen well-being is the PCI: in the US this dropped from $7K in '29 to
$5K in '33. The 'recovery' in these terms began quickly as was
stronger in this country. Most peculiar from a historical standpoint is Germany..historians like to blame the depression for the rise of the Nazis. But their
PCI loss was significantly less than ours (perhaps the runaway inflation bore more on their unusual political reaction). Whatever monetary policy, political involvement or gov't spending, Hitler & Co. managed to drive the German economy upwards well past the point prior to the depression. Even at that, the
rate of climb was parallel with that of the US. I imagine there are those that would argue, but
Hitler was a little harder on the human race than FDR. Certainly it is arguable that such an economic phenomenon may not respond to anything from the political side, or that some monetary techniques work better than others. We know, of course that the 1929 problems
involved banks, margins and finally real estate...huh..

The Griper said...

i see i got your curiosity juices working again, huh, BB? :)

and i agree with your assessment. that is why i asked that people keep in mind what Obama's solutions are when viewing the video or reading the essay and see if what we theorize of the depression is correct. if so, his solutions will solve the problem quickly before a depression hits again world wide.

if not, we need to go back and relearn what history is trying to teach us.

BB-Idaho said...

"got your curiosity juices working again" Indeed. We need get our HG Wells time machine cranked to 1929-33..re-elect Hoover, then Alf Landon: observe the alternative history.
(it has been said though, that picking a flower or stepping on a beetle may make significant changes
which are exponential as the years pass by..hate to be responsible for
no Madonna, scarlet pine trees, mosquitos the size of elephants or
no invention of the internet!)
Oh, wait! there's a difference between 'curiosity juices' and 'flights of fancy'..:)

The Griper said...

"...stepping on a beetle may make significant changes"

mmmm, wonder how many changes we have made already if that be true? we do have choices and make decisions on those choices, no? wouldn't the recognition that we exist indicate we have made significant changes in history already?

BB-Idaho said...

Yes, one of the odd things about time (if time is progressive and linear) Some, not all, actions and choices will have great effect: Moses getting fed up with Egypt, Martin Luther nailing his theses to the wood doors at Wittenburg, Beauregard giving the order to fire on Ft. Sumpter, John the Baptist immersing Jesus, obscure physicists wondering about nuclear chain reaction, etc..the context of the moment pales in the development of history. It is said that the relation of a bit of swirling wind off Tobago and its affect on later hurricane development led to the 'chaos theory' of mathematics. All of which, I guess gets us back to
recession economics..chaos theory?

dmarks said...

"no invention of the internet!"

It all depends on whether or not its inventor, Al Gore, is born.

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