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Last updated: 07 Jul 2018

The Cause of the Great Depression

In the years after WW I and before the stock market crash of 1929, the US Federal Reserve Bank was used to help bring England out of a depression. The approach taken was to transfer American wealth to England by establishing artificially low interest rates and inflating the money supply, weakening the dollar relative to the pound. That caused investors, businesses and individuals to move resources, including gold deposits, from the low-interest-paying US to the higher-interest-paying UK.

Probably unintentionally at the time, artificially low interest rates encouraged stock market speculation.

For the same reasons that moving massive amounts of wealth out of the country strengthened English industry, it weakened US industry. At some point, the realities of US industrial weakness caught up with stock prices, and the Great Depression began.

Notice any similarities to what's going on today? Artificially low interest rates? Yep. Inflating the money supply? Yep. Weakened dollar? Yep. Stock market speculation? Yep. The net effect is a transfer of wealth out of the US, only on a much larger scale than before.

The Trump Administration's policies of reducing regulations and corporate tax rates seem to have reversed the outgoing flow of wealth to some degree. Will it be enough in the long run to prevent a collapse like the one that resulted in the Great Depression? Time will tell.

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