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The Rise of the West: The Great Depression - Article Example

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This article “The Rise of the West: The Great Depression” seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of the precursors to the worst economic crisis in American history. In addition, the author will explore the effects of this event on global trade…
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The Rise of the West: The Great Depression
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Download file to see previous pages Reasons for the Great Crash/Depression will be discussed with reference to how we can learn from lessons from the past; 3) finally, we conclude with a synopsis of the research explored with an eye to the main causes of this event and their ramifications. Understanding that the Depression was an international event with global repercussions, the following will analyze the varied impact of this economic collapse on both the United States and the countries of Europe. The focus here will be on economic factors and our analysis of the Great Depression will be both descriptive and prescriptive with a focus on the economic underpinnings of the Depression.
In the first four years of the Great Depression, world trade fell by an astonishing 60%. As an example of the decline in economic productivity, automotive production in the United States decreased by 50% between 1929 and 1931 and American imports (as well as exports) fell by approximately 70% in the first three years of the Depression. Unemployment, during the worst period of this depression (1932-33), hit a high of 23% for the Belgian and British economies respectively, 24% for the Swedes, 27% for the Americans, 32% for the Danish and a shocking 44% for the German economy (Hobsbawm, 1994; McEvedy, 2002)
What were the immediate precursors to the Great Crash of 1929? From a purely economic perspective, there were many causes of the Great Depression although a single cause for one of the most traumatic economic events in world history remains under debate. Economists today are not unanimous in describing the causes of the Great Depression but importantly there are a series of economic factors, which when put together can help explain the emergence of global depression. First and foremost, widespread deflation in both commodity and asset prices and rampant and unchecked market speculation were important contributors to the downturn which resulted in the Crash. Renowned American economist Milton Friedman emphatically argued that the US Federal Reserve did not produce the correct policies to combat the effects of the recession. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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