Great Depression

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. during 1910–60, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–39) highlighted

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression between 1929 and 1939[1] that began after a major fall in stock prices in the United States.[2] The economic contagion began around September 4, 1929, and became known worldwide on Black Tuesday, the stock market crash of October 29, 1929. The economic shock transmitted across the world, impacting countries to varying degrees, with most countries experiencing the Great Depression from 1929. The Great Depression was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century[3] and is regularly used as an example of an intense global economic depression.[4]

Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.[5] Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II.[6] Devastating effects were seen in both rich and poor countries with falling personal income, prices, tax revenues, profits and prices. International trade fell by more than 50%, unemployment in the U.S. rose to 23% and in some countries rose as high as 33%.[7]

Cities around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60%.[8][9][10] Faced with plummeting demand and few job alternatives, areas dependent on primary sector industries suffered the most.[11]

Economic historians usually consider the catalyst of the Great Depression to be the sudden devastating collapse of U.S. stock market prices, starting on October 24, 1929. However, some dispute this conclusion, seeing the stock crash less as a cause of the Depression and more as a symptom of the rising nervousness of investors partly due to gradual price declines caused by falling sales of consumer goods (as a result of overproduction because of new production techniques, falling exports and income inequality, among other factors) that had already been underway as part of a gradual Depression.[7][12]

  1. ^ "Great Depression History". History. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. ^ John A. Garraty, The Great Depression (1986)
  3. ^ Duhigg, Charles (March 23, 2008). "Depression, You Say? Check Those Safety Nets". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  4. ^ Eichengreen, Barry J. (2015). Hall of mirrors : the Great Depression, the great recession, and the uses-and misuses-of history. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-939201-8. OCLC 914481333. Archived from the original on December 25, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Roger Lowenstein, "History Repeating," Wall Street Journal Jan 14, 2015 Archived May 6, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Garraty, Great Depression (1986) ch1
  7. ^ a b Frank, Robert H.; Bernanke, Ben S. (2007). Principles of Macroeconomics (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-07-319397-7.
  8. ^ "Commodity Data". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Archived from the original on June 3, 2019. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  9. ^ Cochrane, Willard W. (1958). "Farm Prices, Myth and Reality": 15. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "World Economic Survey 1932–33". League of Nations: 43.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Depression Decade
  12. ^ "Great Depression" Archived May 9, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Encyclopædia Britannica

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