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The Great Crash 1929 Paperback – September 10, 2009
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About the Author
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was a critically acclaimed author and one of America's foremost economists. His most famous works include The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. Galbraith was the receipient of the Order of Canada and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he was twice awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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Galbraith also spend some space to discuss why this particular crash led to The Great Depression, while most crashes don't get us into anything like that. That part is also very scary, 54 years after the writing. He claims that income distribution in 1929 was partly responsible. Today, it is almost as uneven. The credit and banking system was distorted in pretty much the same way as today. And the current account ran a deficit (however, far smaller than today).
There is consolation in two important differences. The US is no longer on gold standard. That will probably prevent the devastating and long-lasting deflation from the Great Depression. And balanced budgets are not the holy grail of public finances, as it were in the 1930s (including under president Roosevelt).
To anyone with the slightest interest of the mechanisms of booms and busts, I will recommend Galbraith's excellent work. There are naturally simplifications and political biases, but in a couple of hours reading, he offers a lot of understanding.
The book is witty and wry, delightful and informative, proving that Galbraith was capable of producing clear prose when he wanted to.