About the Book

A Rabble of Dead Money

A Rabble of Dead Money

The Great Crash and the Global Depression: 1929 1939
1st Edition
January 2017
Not Yet Published
Hardcover · 432 Pages
$28.99 U.S. · $37.50 CAN · £19.99 U.K. · €22.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781610395342
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Description

In this new book, Charles Morris tackles the white whale of economic history, the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, which has become a palimpsest of competing fads and trends in thinking about financial policy-making. During the past few decades, there has been a vast amount of high quality research into the causes and effects of the Crash and Great Depression, most of it by economists. But it is often marred by abstruse arguments between schools of economics, often with implicit political agendas. There is no single theory of what caused the Great Depression, and never will be, Morris argues. Macreconomics is a social science, and such a massive event always takes its shape from a terrible confluence of factors. The mismanagement of the gold standard, the growth in consumer credit, the insistence on deflation by some of the best minds in finance, the spread of Fordism through the manufacturing sector, the global agricultural catastrophe, the tit-for-tat rise in protective tariffs, and the inability of the major European belligerents of World War I to agree on a reconstruction agenda, are just a few of the shocks that in aggregate pushed the world into an economic Armageddon. Morris walks the reader through the multiple scenarios — the turning points where different policies might have led to different outcomes — rewarding the reader with fresh appreciations and new insights. But he always tries to look through the eyes of the policymakers and businessmen of the times, with their perspectives and histories. Morris does not fail to provide lessons that modern readers can learn from the Great Crash. In the 1920s, new technologies generated an extraordinary burst of productivity, radically reshaped American culture and mores, and disturbed the predictability of the market in ways that seem all too reminiscent of the present. It's tempting to pontificate about events of eighty years ago, but as Morris reminds us, our modern macroeconomics is still coming to terms with its failure to forecast how directly the much-trumpeted Great Moderation would lead to the Great Financial Crash of 2008.