COLLEGE SHANGHAI FINANCE UNIVERSITY Causes of the Great Depression In 1929 the stock market crashed, triggering the worst depression ever in U.S. history, which lasted for about a decade. During the 1920s, the unequal distribution of wealth and the stock market speculation combined to create an unstable economy by the end of the decade. The unequal distribution of the wealth had several outlets. Money was distributed between industry and agriculture within the U.S.; in social classes, between the rich and middle class; and lastly in world markets, between America and Europe. Due to the imbalance of the wealth, the economy became very unstable. The stock market crashed because of the excessive speculation in the 1920's, which made the stock market artificially high (Galbraith 175). The poor distribution of the wealth, excessive speculation, and the stock market crashes caused the U.S. economy to fail, signaling the start of the Great Depression. The 1920's were a time when the American people and the economy were thriving. This period of time was called the "Roaring Twenties". Unemployment dropped as low as 3 percent, prices held steady, and the gross national product climbed from $70 billion in 1922 to nearly $100 billion in1929 Many factors played a role in bringing about the depression; however, the main cause for the Great Depression was the combination of the greatly unequal distribution of wealth throughout the 1920's and 30's, and the extensive stock market speculation that took place during the 1930's. These were not only the factors of the great depression, structural weaknesses and the fact that most of the other countries were affected just kept the depression going were also played a part. The resulting period ranked as the longest and worst period of high unemployment and low business activity in modern times. The Great Depression was the worst economic slump ever in U. S. history, and one...
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