The great recession and the great depression: reflections and lessons
My Economics Department colleagues are fond of telling me that as an economic historian I have the advantage that I don’t have to update my lectures in response to events. My history lectures don’t become outdated as quickly as their lectures on say the Great Moderation. The fallacy of this view is that while the so-called 'facts' don’t change their interpretation does. To take the obvious example in light of recent events I have had to revise everything I say about the Great Depression. This is the case with regard to the causes of the 1929 crisis which included the Florida real estate bubble global imbalances (referred to then as 'the transfer problem') and lax supervision and regulation. And this is the case with regard to the debate over the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal stimulus in the 1930s. It is certainly the case when we ask whether 'it' could happen again.