Required Reading for Our Times: ‘The Great Crash 1929’

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Though if I were to agree with an economist most times and overall, it would be Milton Friedman, on the advice of Mad Money host Jim Cramer, I just read The Great Crash 1929 by economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

I’m not one to read books about the dismal science in general, but Cramer’s advice definitely was timely, so after reading it, I too am recommending Galbraith’s book unhesitatingly.  It’s a great read and highly enlightening.

Great Crash is written in a common-sense, common-person’s style that makes it a quick, engaging read.  (I finished it off in about three hours or less.)  However, you may want to look up the definitions of these words before reading it: usufruct, eupeptic and parthenogenesis.  Otherwise, you’ll encounter clear, concise, simple writing.

I must confess that, after reading Great Crash, I now have a more liberal leaning on governmental intervention in the economy, as Galbraith makes it clear that easy steps could’ve been taken to ameliorate and end the Great Depression possibly while it was in its early stages.  (Hint: Don’t balance the budget and keep money flowing.)

I found this passage on the next-to-last page of the book most illuminating for our current crisis:

"…it would be unwise to expose the economy to the shock of another major speculative collapse.  Some the new reinforcements might buckle.  Fissures might appear at other new and perhaps unexpected places.  Even the quick withdrawal from the economy of the spending that comes from stock market gains might be damaging."


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