How Bad Was The Great Depression?

Tyler Durden's picture

To properly understand the events of the time (and to put them in today's context), we believe, like the FEE, that it is factually appropriate to view the Great Depression as not one, but four consecutive downturns rolled into one. These four “phases” are: I. Monetary Policy and the Business Cycle; II. The Disintegration of the World Economy; III. The New Deal; IV. The Wagner Act. The first phase covers why the crash of 1929 happened in the first place; the other three show how government intervention worsened it and kept the economy in a stupor for over a decade. The following brief clip and article shine a light on how bad things were and what was done in the name of 'helping' - there are many shocking analogies for current government-inspired acts from taxation to protectionism to money-supply 'tricks'.


Everyone has heard the sage observation of philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s a warning we should not fail to heed.



Great Myths 2011 Final Web

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TuesdayBen's picture

But isn't Bernanke a student of the Great Depression? So he won't screw things up, any more than 'Constitutional scholar' Obama would trash the Constitution...

ACP's picture

Yes, and that's exactly why he won't waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity steal wealth from the middle class.

New_Meat's picture

BOHICA--"Our Screws Never Stop" (Enterprise E-Gang tee-shirt in the late '70s)

markmotive's picture


Milton Friedman talks about The Great Depression myth:

- It was a failure of government

- It was a failure of the federal reserve system

- It was a failure of monetary policy

derek_vineyard's picture

who is bernanke grooming to take his place?.....he's not immortal, yet

chumbawamba's picture

Milton was only looking at one facet of the polished turd.  Observed at a different angle, it was a brilliant scheme in both planning and execution.  The banksters got it all, and the children of America woke-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

I am Chumbawamba.

All Risk No Reward's picture

Failure? It was a resounding success!

Come on, people, stop falling for the false narratives.  We have to elevate our game.

The Great Depression wouldn't not have fixed itself over the long term.  Our monetary system is a fraud.  It is a con.  It is engineered to systematicallty asset strip society.  It is designed to subjugate and loot the masses.

Now, how did that work out?

The international "inner party" used the government to steal the common person's gold and they profited handsomely!

The inner party crowd new the con and they simply rode the bubble up and got out before they pricked the bubble (media manipulation, financial manipulation, you name it).

The common people were impoverished, couldn't pay their debts and the mega banks rolled right in to take their homes and their farms.  You know, the mega banks owned by the "inner party" types.

The narrative is false.  We need to elevate our mental constructs of how the world really works.

It is working perfectly.

“Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.“
~Sun Tzu, Art of War

tiger7905's picture

Rogers up here in Canada is down, might just be their DNS, affecting Internet, cell in Toronto area at a minimum..

trebuchet's picture

US blaming it on Chinese hackers ATM

oldman's picture

There is no 'middle class', haven't you heard the news yet?

And there will never again be a middle class until evryone is working.

So, if you wanna be middle class

Go to China    it has a middle class!

Just an oldman tired of humans aiming so low        om

sbenard's picture

And it is their hubris that ensures that the GREATER Depression this way comes!

icanhasbailout's picture

I'm pretty sure that the current economic crisis is already worse than the Great Depression in everything but duration (and we're working on that one).

LMAOLORI's picture



obama is alot like FDR

America’s Greatest Depression Fighter
(No, it wasn’t Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

jonjon831983's picture

Student of the Coles Notes/Dummies Guide To the: "Great Depression".

Maybe skipped a few key classes as well.

Came in late to the exam hung over and copied the multiple choice exam off his buddy too.


I am assuming at least.

Offthebeach's picture

The fact that the Great Depression, its cause and the effects of actions done during, are still unresolved to this day. But, we know what to do now. (/sac)

Keyser's picture

Looks like we are following the playbook for the great depression and haven't learned a thing from past mistakes. Which only goes to prove Einstein's theorum. 


Albert Einstein - "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results."


GernB's picture

Its not that we havent learned. Its that there is an ongoing war against the truth. The truth is the enemy of those who believe so strongly in the utopian dream that the see the utter failure of thier plans only as evidence they just have not gone far enough.

Chuck Walla's picture

Its not that we havent learned. Its that there is an ongoing war against the truth. The truth is the enemy of those who believe so strongly in the utopian dream that the see the utter failure of thier plans only as evidence they just have not gone far enough.


~Ron Paul


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I believe there was a global depression in the 1870s that started in Europe (Vienna IIRC).  Depressions seem to happen about once per lifetime.  I am NOT satisfied with any explanations of why the Great Depression of the 1930s was so bad and/or why it took so long to achieve recovery.


If losing your gold (as a country, private gold anyway), then Italy is in a depression:

natty light's picture

"took so long to achieve recovery."

I call the government intervention 

The New Ordeal.

CH1's picture

The New, New Ordeal!!

A Nanny Moose's picture

New Ordeal. I'll drink to that.

dbomb12's picture

The next progressive step is WW3, except when they try it this time we are in big trouble 

palmereldritch's picture

Austerity = Bankster Currency War Reparations

The mind control is more concise with austerity.

At least the Germans had The Versaille Treaty. 

Since it's going Global this time it appears they're foregoing a treaty in favour of a simple drone control grid.

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Good points here that the economic policies of US Presidents F.D. Roosevelt and H. Hoover were basically similar, that 'New Ordeal - New Deal' was Hoover stuff re-packaged by Roosevelt

But the libertarian complaint in the doc above, claiming that 'free market max' would have been better, is maybe as wrong as the idea that 'max government bureaucracy and tax heavy and print' is good.

Maybe the real truth is mixed, more like this -

Bad, evil FDR policies:

- horribly killing millions of farm animals and destroying food crops to 'make prices higher'
- confiscating gold
- price controls
- heavy taxes to stifle business
- heavy bureaucracy everywhere
- yet another President, with Abe Lincoln onwards, spitting on US Constitution
- blockading Japan, manipulating them into bombing Pearl Harbour so US could join war

Good FDR policies:
- brought back legalised liquor beer and wine drinking after 14 years of US Taliban Prohibition
- Social Security, some minimum protection
- minimum wage
- protection for union people against the oligarchs cracking their heads and murdering them
- new high-tech streamlined trains crossing USA inspiring people that a bright future was ahead

It was wrong and criminal of FDR to confiscate gold ...

But the fact still is that the countries that left the gold standard earliest (Britain, Germany) did much better economically in the 1930s than the 'gold standard' countries (US, France)

US economy sank 25% under a gold standard, Britain sank only 5% because they dumped it

vato poco's picture

"Good FDR policy = social security"??

Are you on fucking drugs? FDR's national Ponzi/vote-buying scheme was the camel's nose into the tent. Leaving aside entirely the geometric growth of the scam, (SS 19737 = 1% each from employer & employee of the first $2000; 2013 = 14.4% of the first $110,000 *plus* of course the 3% Medicare bullshit), social fucking security has been the speartip for the onset of the modern all-powerful Government/Nanny/Police State. A *mandatory* program which was sold to Americans as "This number shall never be use as an identification #" - they even printed it right on the cards, once - despite The Constitution never mentioning anything about "mandatory". That 'never-for-ID' number is now required to file one's taxes, have a bank account, get your kid into public (LOL) school, buy and sell financial instruments, get treated by a doctor when you're sick, etc etc etc.....and as an article posted here today points out, the system's broke ($65 billion outflow per month; assets amount to only a "lockbox" full of worthless IOU's) and will end up destroying the world financial system if Goldman and Bernanke don't do it first.

If there's any justice in this universe, FDR is sucking cocks in Hell right next to Ted Kennedy and all the fools who bought (and buy) into their statist bullshit. That probably includes you, sunshine. Anyone who writes, "It was wrong and criminal of FDR to confiscate gold, BUT....." is clearly one of their dupes.

Gully Foyle's picture

vato poco

I read somewhere that as soon as SS was created FDR started borrowing money to create a fleet of battleships.

That suggests a pre-war slush fund of sorts. He couldn't get the funding he needed directly so he had to use a circutious route.

And that's how it lead to WW2.

steve from virginia's picture


It would be sensible for persons interested in the 1930s in the US and elsewhere to read some real history books rather than political diatribes from parties desiring to influence current policy.


Most of the anti-Roosevelt arguments are complete bilge.


Start with William Manchester's 'Glory and the Dream'.

akak's picture


Most of the anti-Roosevelt arguments are complete bilge.

Actually, I have rarely met an anti-Roosevelt argument that I didn't like.

The man was pure evil, a sick sociopathic elitist if ever there was one.  The only differences between him and Stalin or Hitler were of degree, not kind.  Next to the tyrant Lincoln, and the subversive Wilson, he ranks as the worst statist in American history, and if there is any justice in this universe he is in one of the bottom pits of Hell for all eternity.



4 presidents in the last 4 years have done more to destroy America in the last 100  years

Wilson, Fed, IRS, Election of Senate by population than state legislatures

FDR, New Deal, SS

LBJ  Great Society, Vietnam

BHO - Obamacare, 5 trillion in new debt. Fascist extension of Czar power and Homeland Security

Anyone seeing any commonality, like maybe all were progressive democrat statists




Manthong's picture

You should add Gold Reserve Act and ESF to FDR’s list of nefarious accomplishments.

icanhasbailout's picture

If you include LBJ then you must in all fairness include GWB for Medicate Part D and TARP

Vendetta's picture

oh no ... finger pointing must only be toward democrats because republicans are completely and utterly innocent of fiscal wrongdoing ....

Hey Assholes's picture

Don't exclude Nixon - "closing the gold window" - cutting the last vestige of a monetary tie to gold.

Mr. Magniloquent's picture

You forgot Obama's example, George W. Bush Jr. While the two are identical to eachother in policy, I would say GWB did most of the heavy lifting. Obama is just a continuation of everything Bush ever did. Both are equally culpable.

GernB's picture

Blind faith in history books is the hallmark of a fool and a chump. Why not suggest people skip the history books and go to first generation sources. Thats what people do who want the real truth and not the propaganda thy sell in schools.

CrazyCooter's picture

VP, I commend your rant. Excellect choice of words and you clearly demonstrate an understanding of the subject.

I almost never +1, but this one is earned. Well done!



Chuck Walla's picture



I wish I could up your count a million greens. You nailed it succinctly.


Thats exactly what is meant by FORWARD SOVIET!

nofluer's picture

"But the fact still is that the countries that left the gold standard earliest (Britain, Germany) did much better economically in the 1930s than the 'gold standard' countries (US, France)"

Did they REALLY do better? Or did they just begin inflating the next bubble with their brand new worthless fiat currency while they stole the products of the workers and of industry?


Winston Churchill's picture

They had both already left the gold standard long before 1929.

France in '23 and Britain in '25.Unpayable war debts to banks being the reason.

Remember he is a self acclaimed banker , and gold is banker's kryptonite.

DanDaley's picture is banker's kryptonite.


That should be a bumper sticker.

Offthebeach's picture

Biggest advocates of minimum wage were New England mill owners, their union workers and local banks against Southern mills and non union labor, which is were the mills went anyways, only at greater cost.

Also, young GI having grown though the depression were shocked at the poor and antiquated living of Brit working class, war effect aside.

Railroads were already competing with air travel, a race they would loseat all passenger price points.

GernB's picture

You have to wonder what the average wage and unemployment rate would be today if there were no minimum wage.

EvlTheCat's picture

You are the most ignorant person on ZH. 

Why don't you educate yourself about FDR.

"It seems rather obvious that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was not "expressly authorized or required" to "issue an Executive Order or proclamation" demanding the public (private) to relinquish their privately held gold.

The order (proclamation) issued by Roosevelt was an undisciplined act of treason. Two months after the Executive Order, on June 5, 1933, the Senate and House of Representatives, 73d Congress, 1st session, at 4:30 P.M. approve House Joint Resolution 192 (HJR-192) A Joint Resolution to suspend the Gold Standard and abrogate the Gold Clause, Joint resolution to assure uniform value to the coins and currencies of the United States.

HJR-192 states, in part, that "Every provision contained in or made with respect to any obligation which purports to give the oblige a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency, or in any amount of money of the United States measured thereby, is declared to be against public policy, and no such provision shall be contained in or made with respect to any obligation hereafter incurred. Every obligation, heretofore or hereafter incurred, whether or not any such provisions is contained therein or made with respect thereto, shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any such coin or currency which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts."

HJR-192 goes on to state: "As used in this resolution, the term 'obligation' means an obligation (including every obligation of and to the United States, excepting currency) payable in money of the United States; and the term 'coin or currency' means coin or currency of the United States, including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations."

HJR-192 superseded Public Law (that which passes as law today is only "color of law"), replacing it with public policy. This eliminated our ability to PAY our debts, allowing only for their DISCHARGE. When we use any commercial paper (checks, drafts, warrants, federal reserve notes, etc.), and accept it as money, we simply pass the unpaid debt attached to the paper on to others, by way of our purchases and transactions. This unpaid debt, under public policy, now carries a public liability for its collection. In other words, all debt is now public.

The United States government, in order to provide necessary goods and services, created a commercial bond (promissory note), by pledging the property, labor, life and body of its citizens, as payment for the debt (bankruptcy). This commercial bond made chattel (property) out of every man, woman and child in the United States. We became nothing more than "human resources" and collateral for the debt. This was without our knowledge and/or our consent. How? It was done through the filing (registration) of our birth certificates!

The United States government -actually the elected and appointed administrators of government -took (and still do, to this day) certified copies of all our birth certificates and placed them in the United States Department of Commerce ... as registered securities. These securities, each of which carries an estimated $1,000,000 (one million) dollar value, have been (and still are) circulated around the world as collateral for loans, entries on the asset side of ledgers, etc., just like any other security. There's just one problem, we didn't authorize it."

MachoMan's picture

Holy fucking jump in logic batman...  We go from HJR 192, something people should be able to look up, should they choose, to every person is a chattel slave and securitized.  Do you have a copy of these securities?  We could figure out pretty quickly as to what is pledged by the express terms of the instruments...

The other issue is, why the hell are you going to cite a website purporting to be able to discharge all your debts.  I'm sorry, but this just isn't so...  and, depending on the method employed (virtually all likely methods), it has already been shot down by the Courts...  and, depending on the circumstances, its "free" practitioner jailed...  it's simply a red herring and a recipe for masturbation.

EvlTheCat's picture

I didn't know you were an authority on anything in particular. I could care less if you want to continue to live as a debt slave.  I have used the techniques taught on several of these pages to discharge tickets/debts and if you seriously do not believe you are a being used in such a manner continue on living the way you do.  If you don't like it don't take the time and read the information presented and don't spend your money. 

I never told your to buy their wears or that I endorse them, but I hardly believe you will get any factual information from the MSM.  Several of the articles on this site are well presented and are factually correct via cross-checking.  I am sorry but I refuse to do the work for you.

Now, if you have any information to the contrary, you are always welcomed to refute what I posted, instead of giving opinions.  It is what adults call, a discussion.

EDIT: And I never said I was going sovereign, either.  I believe in learning the true and actual system/s we are living under so I can work within them to the full extent.  He who does not take the time to learn the game, and its rules, is going to loose the game every time, and not even know why.  This usually results in anger and a a feeling of loss of control.  Keep an open mind and take in all that is around you, even if you find it absurd.  Most of the time the absurd can lead to a different truth with research.