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The Wall Street Crash

50 Years Ago: Wall Street slump

Wall Street got the twitch last month and so did London and the Bourses on the Continent. The newspapers rushed out pictures of the panic in 1929 and then had to set their City Editors to work to explain why 1929 cannot after all happen again.

Everybody seemed to have forgotten that just before 1929 the financial experts were assuring us that the crash which was in fact just around the corner could never happen anyway. If this does not make the experts of 1929 look very impressive in retrospect, it must also teach us that the forecasts of all capitalism's economic experts are not worth very much.

Nowadays the experts are fond of pointing out the precautions which (they are confident) would prevent a runaway boom like the one which preceded the 1929 crash and therefore (they reason) would also prevent the crash itself.

The Cause of the Crisis

In the two preceding articles it was shown that the fundamental cause of the crisis is not to be found in the defects of the world's monetary systems, and that the collapse of the gold standard, in this and other countries, was not responsible for the chapter of accidents but merely one of the features of the economic collapse. The real cause of that collapse has now to be determined. In discussing the depression in which the trade of the world has been floundering since the end of 1929, it is usual to relate the sequence of dismal events since then to the sharp break in general gold prices that occurred at that date.

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