International impact of Great Depression
October 12, 2009 12:07 PM   Subscribe

What was the extent of the international impact of the American Great Depression compared to the economic crisis today? What are (scholarly) resources that might help answer this question?
posted by msk1985 to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A very simple first approximation of the international impact of the Depression:

(1) The Depression caused deep and widespread economic misery.
(2) Widespread economic misery led to fascist and militaristic aggressor regimes.
(3) Fascist and militaristic aggressor regimes led to World War 2's 50-80 million dead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:57 PM on October 12, 2009

The Great Depression was by no means merely "American". It was definitely a global recession; world trade collapsed and nearly every country was affected to some degree.

This web page on international impact of the Great Depression is probably a good starting point. Here are some charts showing the global declines.

Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve, previously compiled a book Essays on the Great Depression.

I think when you get into the area of comparison, though, you're getting into a contentious and often excited debate. It's not a settled discussion, especially because the conclusions may be intended to affect policy.
posted by dhartung at 6:26 PM on October 12, 2009

Richard Posner's A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression compares our current economic state to the Great Depression. The Becker-Posner blog is useful, too.
posted by Majorita at 8:37 PM on October 12, 2009

Concurring that the Great Depression was far from a US only event. Consider Weimar hyperinflation if you think the US even had it particularly bad. I recommend the Great Crash by JK Galbraith as a very accessible, yet reasonably scholarly book, but it does focus on the USA.
I know most of the stuff on the depression in Australia, is more oral histories and reminiscences, a la Studs Turkel.
posted by bystander at 5:00 AM on October 13, 2009

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