Talk:Great Depression

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Please clarify treadline in caption of image under 'Turning point and recovery'[edit]

The overall course of the Depression in the United States, as reflected in per-capita GDP (average income per person) shown in constant year 2000 dollars, plus some of the key events of the period.[1]


If I could edit this article, I would add [clarification needed (what is 'Full Normal GDP' (red dotted line))] to the caption of the image shown to the right.

More specifically, what assumptions go into that curve? It's clearly a line fit to some data... Which years does that data come from? Why are those years relevant? Please explain, thanks (talk) 21:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Also, let me add: how is a linear fit justified? Is economic growth linear? (talk) 21:41, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

You're right. I don't think that "Full Normal GDP" is a commonly used term (someone please let me know if I'm wrong). Since the GDP in the chart is in constant year 2000 dollars, it can't be "GDP if it had kept up with inflation". One possibility is it may mean "How much the economy has to grow to keep the unemployment rate from falling". An explanation of this term should be provided for those of us who are non-specialists.Dulcimer music 04:29, 3 January 2013 (UTC)JDefauw — Preceding unsigned comment added by JDefauw (talkcontribs)
Dotted red line = long term trend 1920-1970, as is now stated. Rjensen (talk) 17:02, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Wrong name used in the Spain chapter[edit]

The prime minister of Spain from 1923 to 1930 was Miguel Primo de Rivera, not Jose Primo de Rivera. Please change! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Moshes elizaveta (talkcontribs) 11:23, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Determining the start of the Great Depression[edit]

This section should emphasize that the Great Depression has a recognizable event that people generally point to as the start: the Wall Street Crash of 1929. (See "The Great Depression", New York Times.) Prior to that date there were various indicators of global financial instability:

  • 1928, first quarter, German recession "Great Depression",
  • March 25, 1929, the US mini crash
  • June 1929, the beginning of a US recession "Great Depression",
  • September 20, 1929, the London crash
  • October 24, 1929, Black Thursday in NYC
  • October 28, 1929, Black Monday in NYC
  • October 29, 1929, Black Tuesday in NYC
  • Early 1930: stringent financial measures adopted by the Fed rather than expansionary
  • June 1930: increased protectionist trade tariffs by US followed by retaliatory tariffs by others

Various authors have variously defined the start:

  • Professor Erich Rauchway of UC Davis says in The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, page 3:
    • "The Great Depression began in the late 1920s, not necessarily with the Great Crash of 1929 but around that time..."
  • Professor Hamilton Cravens of Iowa State U and OAH says in Great Depression: People and Perspectives, page xi:
    • "Most American historians would agree that the Great Depression spanned the years between the stock market crash of October 1929 and the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval fleet at Pearl Harbor... The stock market crash of 1929 triggered the Great Depression."
  • Professor Robert S. McElvaine of Milsaps College says in The Great Depression: America 1929–1941 that there are various explanations of what started the Great Depression, varying by economic background of the observer. He says economist Professor Michael Bordo of Rutgers looks at "the contraction phase" as extending from August 1929 to March 1933. McElvaine dismisses political writer Amity Shlaes who contradicts the standard history of the Great Depression starting at the NY stock market crash. Throughout his book, McElvaine emphasizes the October 1929 crash as the defining moment of the start of the Great Depression.
  • In the The Great Depression in America: A Cultural Encyclopedia, the editors repeatedly trace the Great Depression to its start in late October 1929, the Wall Street Crash. Many entries are described in relation to the timing of the crash. They write that the Great Depression is "the subject of almost constant study since that Tuesday in October 1929 when the stock market crashed, signaling the end of one era and the onset of something new and unknown..."
  • History writer Steve Wiegand writes in Lessons from the Great Depression For Dummies, page 45:
    • The Great Depression may have started with the stock market crash in October 1929 (see Chapter 3) but the crash didn't shoulder all the blame."
  • Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote in 1955 in The Great Crash of 1929, page 168: "After the Great Crash came the Great Depression which lasted, with varying severity, for ten years." Galbraith says on page 71 that a group of conservative Harvard economists of the day forecast a recession "though assuredly not a depression" which was due some time in early or mid 1929. Galbraith writes that "by the summer of 1929, the setback had not appeared, at least in any very visible form", which made the economists admit their error. Galbraith describes how in March 1929 Paul Warburg warned against "a general depression involving the entire country" if stronger Federal Reserve restrictions were not set in place to stop "unrestrained speculation" in the market. On page 88 Galbraith says "According to the accepted view of events, by the autumn of 1929 the economy was well into a depression." He describes how industrial and factory production reached a peak in June 1929, but by October various indices were down. He writes "Until September or October of 1929 the decline in economic activity was very modest."
  • German historian Dietmar Rothermund says in The Global Impact of the Great Depression 1929–1939, page 48, that various financial risk factors had been building a shaky bubble, "but they were accentuated by the sudden crash of the stock market in October 1929 which undermined the world credit system and thus was the proximate cause of the depression."
  • Economics professor Nicholas Crafts of the University of Warwick writes in The Great Depression of the 1930s: Lessons for Today, page 189, that Galbraith traces the start of the Great Depression to the Wall Street Crash. Crafts notes that Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz challenged this "prevailing Keynesian view" in 1963. Crafts characterizes this debate as being about "illiquidity versus insolvency", with Friedman and Schwartz carrying the "illiquidity shock" side. Crafts says that the debate hinges on whether the observer uses aggregate or disaggregate data, with aggregate data favoring the illiquidity argument. Crafts thinks that the Friedman and Schwartz version "may well prevail." Crafts writes on page 157 that "it is quite common still for it to be asserted that the Great Depression was caused by the stock market crash of October 1929." He says on page 48 that he himself disagrees with this assessment, that "the Wall Street Crash played, at most, a minor role in the downturn". He blames instead stringent monetary policy and banking crises.
  • Economist Lionel Robbins, Baron Robbins, wrote in 1933 in The Great Depression that "the onset of the present crisis may perhaps be dated from the autumn of 1929." He goes on to describe economic factors that had been building since 1914.
  • Historian James S. Olson wrote in the Historical Dictionary of the Great Depression, 1929–1940, pages 135–136, that the US stock market "declined modestly in September [1929], but few traders or investors seemed concerned." He says the main panic came in late October. He writes: "Although economic historians do not look back on the Great Crash of 1929 as the sole cause of the Great Depression, they identify it as an important contributing factor..."
  • Economist Christian Saint-Étienne argues that the Great Depression would not have happened if the Federal Reserve had followed an expansionary policy in the months following the Wall Street Crash. The Great Depression, 1929–1938: Lessons for the 1980s, page 32. Saint-Étienne notes that NBER shows a peak of economic activity in August 1929 followed by a trough in March 1933. He says the available money in the US stayed relatively unchanged from January 1928 to April 1930, and only by March 1931 was the lack of money felt. Saint-Étienne traces the Great Depression to various tight-fisted government policies and tariffs starting in June 1930.
  • Economist historian Charles P. Kindleberger wrote in 1989 in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 that he disagrees with Friedman's 1963 analysis. Kindleberger says that the Great Depression was caused by a combination of economic factors which built a speculative bubble of unwarranted optimism in the US stock market which had lost touch with the reality of various downturns in business and production. He writes that if there is any stock market crash which can be blamed for causing the Great Depression, it is the US Wall Street Crash of October 1929. He writes on page 104 that the trading mania in the US stock market "may have contributed to a weakening of the business position, but the crash was less a cause of the depression than a signal of the need to pause and regroup."
  • Professors Thomas E. Hall and J. David Ferguson of Miami University of Ohia write in The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies that there are several reasons to view the Wall Street Crash as having a strong causative effect on the subsequent Great Depression. 1) A decline of $20 billion in stock value hurt household budgets across the US. 2) Existing capital was reduced in value relative to new capital goods, which depressed industrial development. 3) The most important consequence of the crash was a massive reduction in market confidence—a psychological factor.

I hold that general mainstream thought accepts the Wall Street Crash of 1929 as the psychological turning point which signaled the end of the Roaring 20s and start of the Great Depression. Binksternet (talk) 03:49, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Binksternet. The NBER series says that the HIGH POINT was in August 1929, with September and October indices slightly lower. That slight decline is not enough for a historian to date the GREAT depression. Something much more powerful was needed and the great majority of experts point to the stock market crash in October. Note that the slight slippage found in data that NBER later compiled was invisible at the time but the stock market was news worldwide and immediately affected calculations and confidence about the future. Rjensen (talk) 04:57, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Why do their have to be ideological crazies who troll on Wikipedia? Look, recessions start at declines from peaks--it's like car crashes, that start immediately following the last moment that there WASN'T an impact, not when the driver psychologically felt that he was in a crash. (For instance, NBER dates the start of the last recession at much earlier than what the public felt was a recession.) The official authority on US recessions dates the recession as starting in August. Output began declining in August. That's why economists consider the recession to have started in August. My entry notes the difference between what popular perception is and what economists say; your reverted version claims economists believe what the popular notion is, even though that's obviously false and your own quotes indicate that's false.

Still, you know what? Stay with your crazy little false story. Hey, what's misleading the public? Personally, I don't have the time or inclination to fight little ideological crazies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tfirey (talkcontribs) 20:26, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Imagine a situation in which an agreed-upon peak indicator hit its top point several years before a depression, then generally leveled off at a comfortably profitable place for many months before starting a big slide downward. In this hypothetical situation, that top point would not be considered the start of a depression, because following the top point was many months of good economic times. Also, after the downward slide hits bottom and begins to trend upward, people would still be experiencing difficult times, so a depression does not stop the moment the bottom is reached. This shows the fallacy of dating the Great Depression from only this or that economic indicator, and these factors are argued by economists. The Great Depression is larger than that; it is made up of many economic and also psychological factors. Binksternet (talk) 21:06, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Binksternet says it well. The "car crash" that Tfirey is concerned with happened in late october 1929 when a lot of metal got bent out of shape....not in September when the first skid marks appeared Rjensen (talk) 01:04, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

turning point and recovery[edit]

in the second paragraph, either a clear distinction needs to be made between the "common view" and "consensus view". does common mean "majority view"? if so it comes close to contradicting itself. look: do most economists think the new deal was instrumental in recovery, or is the opposite the case. it's not hard to be clear here. in science (or academia) "consensus" is hard often hard to come by and we settle for "most commonly held position". saying there's no consensus on a topic in economics is redundant at best, confusing/misleading at worst. (talk) 03:37, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Section on Other depressions[edit]

This section is lacking and does not reference what was originally called the "Great Depression" and now is called the Long Depression. This Depression hit Europe in the late 1800's, and was long and severe there, but mostly missed the US.

Historians seem more then a bit confused on what happened in the US during this period. Some seem to think it was a period of slow growth full of panics, others that is was the most exceptional period of growth in US history. The US passed England as the #1 economic power during this time frame which supports the fast growth camp. (talk) 22:06, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

i noticed that the beginning sentence says the depression was the decade following WWII i think the author meant WWI considering WWII began during the Great Depression. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:20, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

it was the decade BEFORE world war two (which started in 1939). Rjensen (talk) 03:48, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

UK - 'In the less industrial Midlands and Southern England'[edit]

The Midlands was a heavily industrialized area at the time. I think the key point was that it was industrially more diverse than the North and had 'modern industries', such as car manufacturing. Norvo (talk) 23:33, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Consider the conditions leading to WWI[edit] (talk) 15:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC) While the debate regarding the onset of the GD goes on, it would be correct to look at the prior decade to see the push for amassing fortunes and their exemption from taxation as a lead factor. (talk) 15:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC) I would also like to point out that the US supplying food to Europe kept farm prices artificially low, forcing farmers out of business. The money loaned to Europe encouraged speculation in the stock market, leading to the GD.

Is editing this article a class project?[edit]

This article has had several very substantive improvements in the past several months, from a wide and apparently unrelated group of editors, including many IPs. Is there a class or other coordinated project improving this article? EllenCT (talk) 21:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Real business cycle theorie[edit]

I cant find any sense in the headline "Real factors". All of the studies rely on the Real business cycle model (Snowden, Brian (Fall 2007). "The New Classical Counter-Revolution: False Path or Illuminating Complement?". Eastern Economic Journal 33 (4): 541–562. Retrieved 2014-12-13 – via JSTOR. (subscription required (help)).  Temin, Peter (September 2008). "Review: Real Business Cycle Views of the Great Depression and Recent Events: A Review of Timothy J. Kehoe and Edward C. Prescott's "Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century"". Journal of Economic Literature 46 (3): 669–684. Retrieved 2015-05-07 – via JSTOR. (subscription required (help)). ) therefore the precise and appropriate headline is "Real Business cycle theory hypothesis".
The text should present the clear story: the mentioned studies see the cause of the Great Depression in variations of total factor productivity caused by technology shocks. There is no room for demand variations or monetary shocks in that models.
It should be obvious that NPOV demands a presentation of the mainstream critic on that Real business cycle theorie studies. The deletion of sourced text without giving proper explanation on the talk page is pure vandalism anyway. --Pass3456 (talk) 10:07, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Estimate of the Number of Deaths of Hunger and Diseases caused by Hunger and Malnutrition During American Great Depression and Famine[edit]

This article omits very important social and humanistic aspect of the time it describes and discusses, the aspect essentially represented in my Subject/headline. Perhaps someone knows where the relevant figures can be found in the works of American historians or economists, which analyse that period of the US history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:2000:D170:F900:99E7:9C83:4228:3060 (talk) 14:53, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

There was no increase in death rate
E.g.: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Birch Alex (talkcontribs) 07:11, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Great Depression/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jonas Vinther (talk · contribs) 00:57, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Hello there! Thanks for improving this article and showing initiate by nominating it for GA-status. I'll get started with the review right away and highlight any serious problems that may be found. Should there be only some minor flaws here and there, I'll correct them myself and notify you about my changes. I'll do my absolute best to review this article as fast and thorough I possible can. Kind regards and good luck! Jonas Vinther • (Click here to collect your price!) 00:57, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Okay, after a quick glance on the article, I'm quickly failing this nomination per Point #2 in the GA-criteria. I count well over 30 subsections completely unsourced. A single CN tag, or two, or three, would be okay, but whole sections and paragraphs are not. The article seems to be written at a good level of English and the images used seems appropriate. In short, the article could be a worthy GA-nom if all its content is properly sourced to reliable sources. Good luck. Jonas Vinther • (Click here to collect your price!) 01:06, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Role of Women section[edit]

This section seems to be really out of place. We don't really talk about the effects on any specific group or subgroup. I really reads like someone copied it out of a high school research paper. I recommend removing it from this page, although it might find a place on one of the country specific Great Depression pages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DrVentureWasRight (talkcontribs) 21:45, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Who is this "we" that does not want to talk about women?? Obviously some narrow economist who Is unaware of the wealth of reliable sources on the great depression. Fact is the RS in many fields are publishing books and articles and chapters dealing with the experience of women in the Great Depression. In simple economic terms, since the job market was gender stratified, the employment situation for women was entirely different than for men. Perhaps the critic does not think that men should be studied either? or poor people? Are the political implications are allowed to be mentioned, about the social and intellectual dimensions? Movies? Family roles? Fertility? Try browsing: 1) "'An Old Order Is Passing': The Rise of Applied Learning in University‐Based Teacher Education during the Great Depression" D D'Amico - History of Education Quarterly 2015 2) "Population, Politics, and Unemployment Policy in the Great Depression" by M Cohen - Social Science History, 2014; 3) "The effects of the great recession on family structure and fertility" by A Cherlin, E Cumberworth, SP Morgan The ANNALS 2013 4) Mothers in the fatherland: Women, the family and Nazi politics by C Koonz - 2013 5) The little girl who fought the great depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by JF Kasson - 2014 -6) "Lessons from history: Surviving old age during The Great Depression in the United States" by SH Matthews, RE Dunkle - Journal of aging studies 2013 7) "Banking crises and mortality during the Great Depression: evidence from US urban populations, 1929–1937" D Stuckler, C Meissner, P Fishback, (2012) 8) To Work and to Wed Female Employment, Feminism, and the Great Depression by L Scharf - 1980; 9) "American Religion and the Great Depression" J Butler Church History, 2011; 10) "Women's work and economic crisis: some lessons of the Great Depression" by R Milkman - Review of Radical Political Economics 1976 - 11) "Surviving Tough Times: Saskatchewan Women Teachers in the Great Depression" by J Corman, C Ensslen - Saskatchewan History, 2012 etc etc. Rjensen (talk) 23:56, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
We is the Wikipedia community. Now, I didn't say we shouldn't talk about women. I said that it was tonally out of place in this article. We could have a section on the effects of various groups in the depression, but I suspect that would be highly dependent upon country and culture. We could also branch it off in to it's own page entirely. That could work, but there really isn't enough material here to make a good page. If you're interested in adding in more detail then making a page like 'Effects on Women in the Great Depression' could work well. DrVentureWasRight (talk) 06:54, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
The GD is important because of its impact on people. These people are all males?? I think not. Wiki reports what the RS say about the GD. The material is from an advanced scholarly study. Rjensen (talk) 07:32, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

"2.1 Mainstream theoretical explanations" section[edit]

Is it just me, or does the "2.1 Mainstream theoretical explanations" seem terribly POV? While there are a few modifiers such as "he claimed" or "supporters of this theory believe," and most of it seems fairly NPOV, it seems like a lot of the sentences were pasted from another source entirely, something resembling a persuasive essay on the topic (it also includes emotional language such as "The Federal Reserve sat idly by" [paraphrased]). I haven't gone through the rest of the article, so I'm not sure if there are any other sections like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were.

I'd be more than happy to fix it up, but I'm an extremely new user and I'm not sure if I can just go in and change the passage around like that, or if that's an appropriate passage after all and I'm being overly sensitive to NPOV. Valentine Westing (I'm a newbie, please don't hurt me!) (talk) 12:25, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

NPOV does not mean we are supposed to write boring. "The Federal Reserve sat idly by" is simply a fact. Further more (almost) all economists and historians agree that the Federal Reserve should have taken measures. So it´s NPOV. --Pass3456 (talk) 19:12, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
OK, fair enough. But would a better, slightly less leading wording which still states that fact be acceptable? For example, that phrase could easily be worded as "the Federal Reserve did nothing" without losing meaning. Valentine Westing (I'm a newbie, please don't hurt me!) (talk) 20:33, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
If there is a better wording it surely would be acceptable. Still not overwhelmingly impressed by "the Federal Reserve did nothing" but then again it means the same. --Pass3456 (talk) 14:29, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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a "The" is needed[edit]

I believe we should rename the article The Great Depression. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ratto33 (talkcontribs) 18:22, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 13 July 2016[edit]

Jimmy - I believe the depression acuually started in 1928. Please check your facts. (talk) 17:40, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done what you "believe" is not a verifiable, reliable source whereas the article quotes sources for:-
"The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; however, in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s" and
"Economic historians usually attribute the start of the Great Depression to the sudden devastating collapse of US stock market prices on October 29, 1929"
If you have alternative reliable siources, please cite them - Arjayay (talk) 17:50, 13 July 2016 (UTC)