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Books > Business & Money > Economics > Development & Growth > 0472066676
  1. The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies
    The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies
    The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies
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  2. The Great Depression: An International Disaster of Perverse Economic Policies

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (7 reviews)
    Price R783.00

Additional Information

The Great Depression was the worst economic catastrophe in modern history. Not only did it cause massive worldwide unemployment, but it also led to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, World War II in Europe, and the tragic deaths of tens of millions of people. This book describes the sequence of policy errors committed by powerful, well-meaning people in several countries, which, in combination with the gold standard in place at the time, caused the disaster. In addition, it details attempts to reduce unemployment in the United States by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, and in Germany by Hitler's National Socialist economic policies.
A comprehensive economic and historical explanation of the events pertaining to the Depression, this book begins by describing the economic setting in the major industrialized countries during the 1920s and the gold standard that linked theory economies together. It then discusses the triggering event that started the economic decline--the Federal Reserve's credit tightening in reaction to perceived overspeculation in the U.S. stock market. The policy bungling that transformed the recession into the Great Depression is detailed: Smoot Hawley, the Federal Reserve's disastrous adherence to the real bills doctrine, and Hoover's 1932 tax hike. This is followed by a detailed description of the New Deal's shortcomings in trying to end the Depression, along with a discussion of the National Socialist economic programs in Germany. Finally, the factors that ended the Depression are examined.
This book will appeal to economists, historians, and those interested in business conditions who would like to know more about the causes and consequences of the Great Depression. It will be particularly useful as a supplementary text in economic history courses.
Thomas E. Hall and J. David Ferguson are both Professors of Economics, Miami University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Hall and Ferguson do an excellent job of summarizing the mainstream view of economists on why the Depression happened, and those views will surprise some. Was the Depression caused by some structural defect in Capitalism? "No," say Hall and Ferguson. It was due to a combination of economic ignorance, confusion, and incompetence in the Federal Reserve System. The authors do a wonderful job of explaining how the conventional wisdom of the day, the commercial loan theory of banking, led policy makers into a series of blunders that seem incomprehensible today to anyone who knows basic economics. As for the New Deal, Hall and Ferguson argue that except for deposit insurance and gold policy, most of it was irrelevant or counterproductive and contributed only to slowing the recovery after 1933.
If you want to read only one book and still understand why the Great Depression happened, read this one.
If you have no idea what happened to the world economy in the two decades following WW1, then this little book is a great primer. It contains a lovely chronology of events, discusses in a simplistic way how the gold standard actually worked, how the real bills doctrine impeded effective monetary loosening and how Roosevelt prolonged the depression. It's a (mostly) monetarist view and easy to understand at that.
On a second read though, 'The Great Depression' becomes very irritating; for three reasons....
The first is its changing view of the causes of decline and recovery. It starts out monetarist but ends up closer to the Austrian view that government intervention and socialism prolonged the recovery. You can't be both, although the authors try very hard.
The second problem is the use of history. Many historically minded authors have made a big issue of the vicious Versailles Peace Treaty and its role in destabilising the international payments system. Hall and... Read more
I have never submitted a "reader's review" to Amazon, but have to add mine here after noting the one negative review below. All the other positive reviewers have it right. This book hits the mark and does exactly what it appears to be designed to do. It is accessible for a broad spectrum of readers, while maintaining a rigorous scholarly standard. And, amazingly, it is an enjoyable read, for both scholars AND graduate and undergraduate students (and maybe the intellectually curious non-fiction reader?). I hope the one rambling (and somewhat odd?) negative review will be dismissed by Amazon visitors. In my opinion, this is a book which should be read by anyone who wants to understand the complex forces and historical context which resulted in the Great Depression.
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