Donald Sassoon: To Understand This Crisis We Can Look to the Long Depression TooRoundup: Historians' Take
Donald Sassoon is Professor of Comparative European History at Queen Mary College, University of London.
'Growth, growth, my kingdom for some growth!" But the kingdom is in double-dip recession and the painful slog out of it may be longer than the government expected. Elsewhere, it's not fun either. Spain is in serious recession with unemployment at almost 25%. Its borrowing costs are increasing, as are those of Italy – two major markets for British exports. In France, whose economy is faltering, François Hollande is poised to win the presidential election. The "markets" are running scared.
Crises have always been with us. They are part of the history of capitalism. This crisis is not like any of the previous big capitalist crises except in this: "we are not all in it together". There will be winners and losers and, as usual, the outcome is uncertain.
The crisis of 1929, or the Great Depression, has become the ur-crisis, the proto-crisis, the one crisis all other crises are compared to. Is the present downturn as bad as that of 1929? Recent OECD data is not encouraging, particularly for Europe. The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, is more optimistic, at least for the United States. The meltdown, he explained, would have been even worse than that of 1929 had it not been for decisive government intervention (a modest way of patting himself on the back).
Comparisons are always useful, but the truth is that the crisis of 1929 was quite different from today's – not surprisingly since the world has changed considerably...
comments powered by Disqus
- 10 questions and answers about America’s “Big Government”
- Lithuanian nationalists celebrate Holocaust-era quisling, Pepe the Frog near execution site
- Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelts remain history’s best presidents in survey
- Winston Churchill essay on 'aliens' found: 'British Bulldog' had a philosophical streak
- Doppelgänger ethics: Why Austria arrested a Hitler double
- Israeli schools' history lessons create good soldiers, says pundit
- Yuval Noah Harari foresees a god-like future for humans
- Published Historian Of Spain Indicted By A Federal Grand Jury For Possession Of Child Pornography
- Stephen F. Cohen continuing his lonely campaign to stop the media from "Kremlin-Baiting President Trump”
- Seven Books Named as Finalists for the 2017 $50,000 George Washington Prize