Great Depression

Worldwide economic depression (1929–1939) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that affected most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States.[1] The economic contagion began around September 1929 and led to the Wall Street stock market crash of 24 October (Black Thursday). It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.[2]

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.

Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession.[3] Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries,[specify] the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II. Devastating effects were seen in both rich and poor countries with falling personal income, prices, tax revenues, and profits. International trade fell by more than 50%, unemployment in the U.S. rose to 23% and in some countries rose as high as 33%.[4]

Cities around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60%.[5][6][7] Faced with plummeting demand and few job alternatives, areas dependent on primary sector industries suffered the most.[8]

Economic historians usually consider the catalyst of the Great Depression to be the sudden devastating collapse of U.S. stock market prices, starting on 24 October 1929. However, some dispute this conclusion, seeing the stock crash less as a cause of the Depression and more as a symptom of the rising nervousness of investors partly due to gradual price declines caused by falling sales of consumer goods (as a result of overproduction because of new production techniques, falling exports and income inequality, among other factors) that had already been underway as part of a gradual Depression.[4][9]

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