Thursday, May 30, 2019
The Causes of the Great Depression :: American America History
The Causes of the Great DepressionSince the beginning of the Industrial Revolution early in the nineteenth century the United States ad experienced recessions or panics at least every twenty years. But none was as severe or lasted as long as the Great Depression. Only as the frugality shifted toward a war mobilization in the late thirties did the grip of the depression finally ease. Stock prices had been rising steadily since 1921, but in 1928 and 1929 they surged forward, with the middling price of agate lines rising over 40 percent. The stock market was totally unregulated. Margin buying in particular proceeded at a feverish pace as customers borrowed up to 75 percent of the purchase price of stocks. That easy credit lured more speculators and less creditworthy investors into the stock market. The Federal Reserve tabular array warned member banks not to lend money for stock speculation because if prices dropped, many investors would not be able to pay back their debts. No one listened. The stock market began sliding in early September, but people ignored the warning. Then on black Thursday (October 24, 1929) and again on black Tuesday (October 29, 1929) the goon dropped. More than 28 million shares changed hands in frantic trading. Overextended investors, suddenly finding themselves in heavily in debt, began selling their stocks. Many found that no one would buy anything at any price. Overnight, stock values fell from a peak value of 87 billion dollars to 55 billion dollars. The break up was felt far beyond the trading floors. Speculators who borrowed money from the banks to buy their stocks could not repay the loans because they could not sell stocks. This caused many banks to fail. Since bank deposits were uninsured before the 1930s depositors their money, which in many cases was all that many people had. The stock market crash intensified the course of the Great Depression in many ways. as well wiping out the savings of thousands, it hurt commercia l banks that had invested heavily in corporate stocks. It also caused a loss of confidence in the market prolonging the depression. The downturn began easy and almost unnoticeably. After 1927, consumer spending declined and housing construction slowed. Inventories piled up, and in1928 and 1929 manufacturers began to cut back on production and lay off workers. Reduced income and buying power in turn reinforced the downturn. By the summer of 1929 the economy was clearly in a recession.