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Presentist History - Essay Example

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Date The Great Depression vs. Economic Crisis of 2008 Abstract Economic crises, have always involved large and persistent declines in levels of output and employment. The crises have been like puzzles especially in developed countries whose economies typically function at high levels…
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Presentist History
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Download file to see previous pages Even those who were already born during this period may not remember much about it. Despite this, it is clear that Americans cannot escape the foundational legacy left by the Great. At the very least, it is known that during that period, times were really bad because the Great depression is the standard by which economists, historians and journalists measure most of other potentially bad times that followed. Liberal and Conservative economists still argue over the cause of the depression but the fact remains that it happened and in the process scarred the lives of millions of Americans while at the same time changed the course of United States politics. The parallels between the Economic Crisis of 2008 and the Great Depression have been subject to many comments. The current economic crisis is believed by some economists to be as bad as the Great Depression but this point highly disputable. As economists and historians continue with their debates, the effects of the 2008 recession are still felt all around the globe. Introduction Depressions lead to large and persistent declines in economic activities of a nation. They feature a major crime whereby an economy is leveled. There are always a number suspects who possibly contributed to the depression. The most fascinating aspect of depressions is that they manage to remain a mystery. They are mysterious when looked at from the perspective of standard economics. This is so particularly in countries that are highly developed such as the United States, Britain, Australia that ideally should not have them because of their relatively efficient institutions and well functioning economies.1 This then begs the question as to what makes such economies go bad. This paper will assess the features of crises and depressions, with a focus on the Great Depression and the recent economic recession of 2008. Though these crises initially occurred in the United States, their magnitude was felt all over the world. In the United States, the effects of the systemic crisis are easily seen due to the recent political, economic, and ideological developments. Output and employment levels in the U.S. gradually fell at a great speed that had never been seen for many decades with the situation getting worse to a point that forced the government to introduce bailout plans to rescue some of the economic sectors. General Motors and Citigroup which were two of the largest corporations in the US, one a symbol of the manufacturing prowess of the US and the other the largest bank became insolvent. Policies that had previously been effective in overcoming past financial recessions and crises such as institutional bailouts and expansionary monetary policies were not capable in stemming the 2008 crisis.2 Comparisons: The Similarities It is important to note that in terms of real economic decline as measured by unemployment, real GDP or Industrial Production, the Great Recession was relatively minor. In the period between 1929 and 1933, the real GDP of the US fell by close to 30 percent. On the other hand, between 2007 and 2009 the real GDP fell by slightly over 5 percent. In 1933, unemployment in the U.S. peaked at 25 percent whereas in 2009 it was slightly above 10 percent.3 The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics places the unemployment rate at 8.2 percent as of March 2012.4 Though this rate is still high, it cannot be compared to the rate that prevailed during the 1930s. Secondly, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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