Does the US face Great Depression II?
Guardian News Service America has never fully forgotten the horrors of the Great Depression. Could the present economic crisis lead to suffering on a similar scale once again? Clive Webb, reader in American history at the University of Sussex, England, examines the parallels “They have waited until something has cracked and then at the last moment have sought to prevent total collapse.” Those words, which could so easily have come from one of the congressional representatives who this week voted down the proposed federal bail-out of the American banking industry, were spoken by Franklin D Roosevelt in 1932. A precipitous collapse in stock market prices, millions defaulting on mortgage repayments, an unpopular President blamed for neglecting the plight of ordinary Americans. As the current economic crisis in the US unfolds, many people are asking whether this is history repeating itself. Are we witnessing a rerun of the stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression? What lessons ca