Few periods in history compare to the Great Depression. Stock market crashes, bread lines, bank runs, and wild currency speculation were worldwide phenomena--all occurring with war looming in the background. This period has provided economists with a marvelous laboratory for studying the links between economic policies and institutions and economic performance. Here, Ben Bernanke has gathered together his essays on why the Great Depression was so devastating.
This broad view shows us that while the Great Depression was an unparalleled disaster, some economies pulled up faster than others, and some made an opportunity out of it. By comparing and contrasting the economic strategies and statistics of the world's nations as they struggled to survive economically, the fundamental lessons of macroeconomics stand out in bold relief against a background of immense human suffering. The essays in this volume present a uniquely coherent view of the economic causes and worldwide propagation of the depression.
"[H]aving devoted much of his career to studying the causes of the Great Depression, Bernanke was the academic expert on how to prevent financial crises from spinning out of control and threatening the general economy. One line from his Essays on the Great Depression sounds especially prescient today: 'To the extent that bank panics interfere with normal flows of credit, they may affect the performance of the real economy.'"--Roger Lowenstein, New York Times Magazine
"Bernanke is the master of applied microeconomics. Not only is he technically proficient but his ability to place his results in a larger macroeconomic context is unparalleled."--Mark Toma, Financial History Review
"Mr. Bernanke certainly knows the importance of well-functioning markets. In Essays on the Great Depression he wrote persuasively that runs on the banks and extensive defaults on loans reduced the efficiency of the financial sector, prevented it from doing its normal job in allocating resources, and contributed to the Depression severity. The Depression-era problems he studied are mirrored by similar issues today, and they need urgent attention."--Robert J. Shiller, New York Times
"Fortunately, before he became entangled in these restrictions [Bernanke] did edit and help write a book, Essays on the Great Depression. . . . Mr. Bernanke's motive was that understanding the depression would provide important clues to what can go wrong with capitalist market systems."--Samuel Brittan, Financial Times
"The financial crisis has made Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's book Essays on the Great Depression a hot seller. . . . Bernanke, a former Princeton University economist, is considered the pre-eminent living scholar of the Great Depression. He is practicing today what he preached in his book: Flood the system with money to avoid a depression."--Dennis Cauchon, USA Today
Table of Contents
This book has been translated into:
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Ben S. Bernanke: