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The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash…

The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself

by James Grant

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This slim book is an account of the 1920-1921 depression which the author maintains cured itself and he suggests that if Hoover had not tried to cure the Great Depression it would also have cured itself!. He blames Hoover for the Great Depression being so bad, and on that many will agree with him. But the reason he blames the seriousness of the Great Depression on Hoover is that he says Hoover should have not tried to alleviate it! He says that if wages had been cut during the Depression it might have cured itself as 1he 1921 depression cured it self. He says that if wages had been cut during the Great Depression as they were in 1921 the depression would have ended quicker. In 21012 Rand Paul said if he were elected President he would name James Grant president of the Federal Reserve, so that give you an idea of Grant's outlook economically. Grant admits the farmers never recovered from the 1921 depression, which squares with my memory of that time, and Grant does not tell us why,if inaction was such a panacea, the depression did not end for the farm sector of the economy. So, while his account of the history of the time is highly selective (but interesting) he is not persuasive so far as I am concerned since it is hard to see that cutting wages for those who had work during the Great Depression would have brought the Depression to an end rather than exacerbating it for even more people. ( )
2 vote Schmerguls | Jan 11, 2016 |
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"By the publisher of the prestigious Grant's Interest Rate Observer, an account of the deep economic slump of 1920-21 that proposes, with respect to federal intervention, "less is more." This is a free-market rejoinder to the Keynesian stimulus applied by Bush and Obama to the 2007-09 recession, in whose aftereffects, Grant asserts, the nation still toils. James Grant tells the story of America's last governmentally-untreated depression; relatively brief and self-correcting, it gave way to the Roaring Twenties. His book appears in the fifth year of a lackluster recovery from the overmedicated downturn of 2007-2009. In 1920-21, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met a deep economic slump by seeming to ignore it, implementing policies that most twenty-first century economists would call backward. Confronted with plunging prices, wages, and employment, the government balanced the budget and, through the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates. No "stimulus" was administered, and a powerful, job-filled recovery was under way by late in 1921. In 1929, the economy once again slumped--and kept right on slumping as the Hoover administration adopted the very policies that Wilson and Harding had declined to put in place. Grant argues that well-intended federal intervention, notably the White House-led campaign to prop up industrial wages, helped to turn a bad recession into America's worst depression. He offers the experience of the earlier depression for lessons for today and the future. This is a powerful response to the prevailing notion of how to fight recession. The enterprise system is more resilient than even its friends give it credit for being, Grant demonstrates"--… (more)

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