The Investment Scientist

Great Depression II?

Posted on: October 9, 2008

Since President Bush declared that if the Congress does not give Secretary Paulson the $700 billion blank check, “the sucker could go down!” the talks of another Great Depression have filled the air waves.

So how much today resembles the Great Depression that lasted from 1929 to 1933?

It doesn’t take a lot to bring together data from various government sources to present a comparison in the table below.

Table: Comparison of the Great Depression and today

Factor Great Depression Today
GDP growth -27% +1%
Unemployment rate 25% 6%
US exports -66% +15%
Inflation -27% +4%
Stock market -83% -43%

Data source:

Granted, the situation today could get a lot worse before getting better, it simply does not resemble the Great Depression. However, the stock market already have priced in half the chance of that.

Did President Bush and Secretary Paulson scare us so much, we not only handed over the $700 billion blank check, but we pee our pants as well?

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


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