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Americas Great Depression What Caused this Great Depression Written by Rebecca Breeden The Great Depression is probably one of the most misunderstood events in American history It is routinely cited as proof that unregulated capitalism is not the best in the world and that only a massive welfare state huge amounts of economic regulation and other Interventions can save capitalism from itself Among the many myths surrounding the Great Depression are that Herbert Hoover was a laissez faire president and that FDR brought us out of the depression What caused the Great Depression To get a handle on that its necessary to look at previous depressions and compare The Great Depression was by no means the first depression this country ever had but it was clearly the worst What made it different than the rest At the time of the Great Depression government intervention in the economy was higher than it had ever been and a special government agency had been set up specifically to prevent depressions and their associated problems such as bank panics This agen cy was the Federal Reserve Board and it was to have been the loaner of last resorts for banks in order to prevent collapses as had happened during earlier depressions But as America sees there is good reason to believe that the Federal actions explain many of the problems that lead up to the stock market crash and the subsequent depression Although there are many macroeconomics schools of thought this paper will be concentrating on two initially Keynesian economics and Austrian School economics Keynesian economics got its start during the Great Depression with the publication in 1936 of The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes Austrian School economics began much Earlier most notably with the publication in 1871 of Carl Mengers Principles of Economics While the Austrian theory has never been mainstream economist Paul Krugman refers to it as the economic equivalent
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