Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • Hi, I'm John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. history and Herbert Hoover's here,

  • which is never a good sign. Today we're gonna return to two of my favorite topics: economics and inaccurate naming conventions.

  • That's right, we're gonna be talking about the Great Depression,

  • which was only great if you enjoy, like, being a hobo or selling pencils.

  • Now some of you might get a bit frustrated today,

  • because there's no real consensus about the Great Depression,

  • and simple, declarative statements about it really say much more about you than they do about history.

  • Why are you looking at me, Mr Green? I didn't say anything. I thought it.

  • Because, Me From the Past, you always want things to fit into this simplistic narrative:

  • she loves me, she loves me not, the Great Depression was caused by x or was caused by y.

  • It's complicated!

  • Many people tell you that the Great Depression started with the stock market crash in October 1929,

  • but a) that isn't true and b) it leads people to mistake correlation with cause.

  • What we think of as the Great Depression did begin AFTER the stock market crash, but not because of it.

  • Like, as we saw last week, the underlying

  • economic conditions in the U.S. before the stock market crash

  • weren't all moonshine and rainbows. The 1920s featured large-scale domestic consumption of relatively new consumer products,

  • which was good for American industry. But much of this consumption was fueled by credit and installment buying

  • which, it turned out, was totally unsustainable.

  • The thing about credit is that it works fine unless and until economic uncertainty increases

  • at which point POW. That's a technical historian term, by the way.

  • Meanwhile, the agricultural sector suffered throughout the 1920s and farm prices kept dropping for two reasons.

  • First, American farms had expanded enormously during World War I to provide food for all those soldiers,

  • and second, the expansion led many farmers to mechanize their operations.

  • As you'll know if you've ever bought a tractor, that mechanization was expensive,

  • and so many farmers went into debt to finance their expansion.

  • And then a combination of overproduction and low prices meant that often their farms were foreclosed upon.

  • And other signs of economic weakness appeared throughout the decade.

  • Like by 1925, the growth of car manufacturing slowed, along with residential construction.

  • And, worst of all was what noted left wing radical Herbert Hoover

  • labeled "an orgy of mad speculation" in the stock markets that began in 1927.

  • By the way I'm kidding about him being a left wing radical. Just look at him.

  • According to historian David Kennedy,

  • "By 1929, commercial bankers were in the unusual position of loaning more money for stock market

  • and real estate investments than for commercial ventures."[1]

  • I wonder if we would ever find ourselves in that position again. Oh, right, we did in 2008.

  • Anyway, it's tempting to see the stock market crash as the cause of the depression,

  • possibly because it turns American economic history into morality play,

  • but the truth is that the stock market crash and the depression were not the same thing.

  • A lot of rich people lost money in the market, but what made the Great Depression the Great Depression

  • was massive unemployment and accompanying hardship, and this didn't actually begin until, like, 1930 or 1931.

  • The end of 1929 was actually okay. Unless you were a farmer, or a stockbroker obviously.

  • So what did actually cause the Depression?

  • Well that's a big question and it's one that economists have struggled with ever since.

  • They want to find out so they can keep it from ever happening again. No pressure, economists.

  • Only 3% of Americans actually owned stock, and the markets recovered a lot of their value by 1930,

  • although they did then go down again because, you know, there was a depression on.

  • And even though big banks and corporations were buying a lot of stock,

  • much of it was with borrowed money, known as margin buying,

  • and all of that still was not nearly a big enough iceberg to sink the world's economy.

  • But if I had to name a single cause of the Great Depression, it might be America's weak banking system.

  • Alright. Let's go to the ThoughtBubble.

  • Although the Federal Reserve system had been created in 1913,

  • the vast majority of America's banks were small, individual institutions

  • that had to rely on their own resources. When there was a panic and depositors rushed to take the money out of the bank

  • -- like they do in the obscure arthouse movie Mary Poppins -- the bank went under if it didn't have enough money on reserve.

  • So in 1930, a wave of bank failures began in Louisville that then spread to Indiana,

  • Illinois, Missouri, and eventually Arkansas and North Carolina.

  • As depositors lined up to take their money out before the banks went belly up,

  • banks called in loans and sold assets. Ultimately this meant that credit froze up,

  • which was what really destroyed the economy. A frozen credit system meant that less money was in circulation,

  • and that led to deflation. Now you're probably thinking, "Big deal,

  • deflation, can't be as bad as inflation right?" No. Deflation is much worse,

  • as anyone who has ever slept on an air mattress knows.

  • When prices drop, businesses cut costs, mainly by laying off workers.

  • These workers then can't buy anything, so inventories continue to build up, and prices drop further.

  • Banks weren't lending money, so employers couldn't borrow it to make payroll to pay their workers

  • and more and more businesses went bankrupt leaving more and more workers unable to purchase the goods and services

  • that would keep the businesses open.

  • So if we have to lay the blame for the Great Depression on someone, we can blame the banks,

  • which isn't completely wrong, and it gives us a chance to shake our fists at Andrew Jackson

  • whose distrust of central banking got us into this mess in the first place.

  • That's probably too simple, but the Federal Reserve does deserve a good chunk of the blame for not rescuing the banks

  • and not infusing money into the economy to combat this deflationary cycle.

  • Thanks, Thoughtbubble. So, economics fans out there might be saying,

  • "Why didn't the Hoover administration engage in some good old fashioned Keynesian pump priming?"

  • The thinking there is that if governments do large-scale economic stimulus and a bunch of infrastructure projects,

  • it can kind of create a bottom that stops the deflationary cycle.

  • And that does often work, but unfortunately the Hoover Administration did not have a TARDIS.

  • John Maynard Keynes' great work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (he wasn't very good at titles)

  • wasn't published until 1936, when the Depression was well under way.

  • Venturing into the green nightmare of not-America for a moment, Herbert Hoover offered a global explanation

  • in his memoirs for the global phenomenon that was the Great Depression.

  • He claimed that its primary cause was World War One. And to be fair, the war did set the stage for a global economic disaster

  • because of the web of debts and reparations that it created.

  • Like, under the Versailles Treaty, Germany had to pay $33 billion in reparations mostly to France and Britain,

  • which it couldn't pay without borrowing money from ... American banks.

  • In addition the U.S. itself was owed $10 billion by Britain and France,

  • some of which those countries paid back with German reparations.

  • But then once American credit dried up, as it did in the wake of the stock market crash and the American bank failures,

  • the economies of Germany, France, and Britain also fell off a cliff.

  • And then with the largest non-U.S. industrial economies in total turmoil, fewer people abroad

  • could buy American products, or French wine, or Brazilian coffee,

  • and world trade came to a halt. And then when what the world really needed was more trade,

  • America responded by raising tariffs to their highest levels ever with the Hawley Smoot tariff,

  • a law that was as bad as it sounds.

  • The idea of the high tariff was to protect American industry,

  • but since Europe responded with their own high tariffs,

  • that just meant that there were fewer buyers for American goods, less trade, fewer sales, and ultimately fewer jobs.

  • So what did Hoover do? Not enough. It's important to remember that the American government is not just the President.

  • Hoover couldn't always get Congress to do what he wanted, but his political ineptitude was not particularly surprising

  • because the first elected office

  • that he ever held in his life was President of the United States.

  • Like, let's take the foreign debt issue. Hoover proposed a moratorium on intergovernmental debt payments

  • and he actually got Congress to go along with it, but it wasn't enough,

  • mainly because the central bankers in Europe and America refused to let go of the gold standard,

  • which would have allowed the governments to devalue their currency and pump needed money into their economies.

  • And when Britain, rather heroically I might add, did abandon the gold standard in 1931 and stopped payments in gold,

  • the U.S. did not follow suit,

  • which meant that world financial markets froze up even further.

  • Like this is a little bit complicated, but if you and I have always used Cheetos as currency to exchange goods and services

  • and one day I announce that we can't do that anymore

  • because it doesn't give us the flexibility that we need to pull ourselves out of this deflationary spiral.

  • If I don't also agree to abandon Cheetos,

  • then it's going to be a total disaster, which it was.

  • And then, even worse, the Fed raised its discount rate, making credit even harder to come by.

  • By the end of 1931, 2,294 American banks had failed, double the number that had gone under in 1930.

  • Now, it's easy to criticize poor Herbert Hoover for not doing enough to stop the Great Depression,

  • and he probably didn't do enough,

  • but part of that is down to our knowledge of what happened afterward: the New Deal.

  • That FDR at least tried to do something about the Depression makes us forget that when Hoover

  • was president, orthodox political and economic theory counseled in favor of doing nothing.

  • And at least Hoover didn't follow the advice of his treasury secretary who,

  • according to Hoover anyway, argued that that the solution was to "liquidate labor, liquidate stocks,

  • liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate," which sounds like the worst milkshake ever.

  • Instead, Hoover believed that the best course of action was to "use the powers of government

  • to cushion the situation"[2] and in a White House meeting he persuaded a large number

  • of industrialists to agree to maintain wage rates.

  • He also got the Federal Farm Board to support agricultural production,

  • and got Congressional approval for $140 million in new public works.

  • Overall, he nearly doubled the federal public works expenditures between 1929 and 1931. It just wasn't nearly enough.

  • Because what Hoover didn't allow was for the federal government to take over the situation completely.

  • He relied primarily on private businesses and state and local governments to stimulate the economy,

  • and that was insufficient.

  • It's not surprising when you consider that in 1929, Federal expenditures accounted for 3% of our gross domestic product.

  • Today it's more like 20%.

  • So, it was just really hard to imagine the Federal government doing anything on such a large scale to address a national problem

  • because it had never really done that much before.

  • Hoover also hiked taxes as part of a plan to stabilize the banks by balancing the federal budget,

  • providing confidence for foreign creditors, and stopping them from buying American gold.

  • This would support bonds and also keep the federal government out of competition with private borrowers.

  • The Revenue Act of 1932 passed Congress, but it didn't do much to stop the Depression.

  • In fact, arguably it made it worse.

  • Though ultimately, this dire situation forced Hoover into a truly radical move.

  • In January 1932 he and Congress created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation,

  • which was basically a federal bailout program that borrowed money

  • to provide emergency loans to banks, building-and-loan societies, railroads, and agricultural corporations.

  • The problem was that by 1932, bailing out the banks wasn't enough and the Great Depression started to take shape.

  • By early 1932 well over 10 million people were out of work, 20% of the labor force.

  • And in big cities the numbers were even worse, especially for people of color.

  • Like, in Chicago, 4% of the population was African American, but they made up more than 16% of the unemployed.

  • Although Hoover famously claimed that no one starved, which was a little bit let-them-eat-cake-y,

  • people did search trash cans for food, and many Americans were forced to ask for relief.

  • Hoover's response was to try to encourage private charity

  • through the unfortunately acronymed, President's Organization on Unemployment Relief. Or "POUR."

  • New York City's government relief programs rose from $9 million in 1930 to $58 million in 1932,

  • and private charitable giving did increase from $4.5 million to $21 million,

  • and that sounds great

  • until you realize that the total of $79 million that New York City spent on relief in 1932 was less than ONE

  • MONTH's lost wages for the 800,000 people who were unemployed.[3]

  • Oh, it's time for the Mystery Document? I hope it's a break from the unrelenting misery. Probably not.

  • The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document and then usually fail and get shocked with the shock pen,

  • which is a real shock pen no matter what you people say.

  • Alright, what do we got here?

  • "We sit looking at the floor. No one dares think of the coming winter.

  • There are only a few more days of summer. Everyone is anxious to get work to lay up something for that long siege of bitter cold.

  • But there is no work. Sitting in the room we all know it.

  • This is why we don't talk; much. We look at the floor dreading to see that knowledge in each other's eyes.

  • There is a kind of humiliation in it. We look away from each other.

  • We look at the floor. It's too terrible to see this animal terror in each other's eyes."

  • I mean, Stan, unemployment was 25% and this could be literally any of those people.

  • I'm gonna guess that it's a woman, because men were usually on the road trying to find work

  • while women would go to these offices to look. I - I mean it could be many - I have no idea.

  • Ummm Janet Smith. Meridel Le Sueur? She's a good writer. Maybe we should hire her.

  • AH!

  • So, often at Crash Course we try to show how conventional wisdom about history isn't always correct.

  • But in the case of the hardships experienced during the Great Depression, it really is.

  • The pictures of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, and Steinbeck's description in Grapes of Wrath

  • of Okies leaving the dust bowl in the usually vain hope of a better life in California,

  • they tell the story better than I can.

  • Thousands of Americans took to the road in search of work and thousands more stood in breadlines.

  • There were shantytowns for the homeless called Hoovervilles,

  • and there were protests, like the Bonus March on Washington by veterans seeking an early payment of a bonus due to them in 1945.

  • A lot of the debate around the Great Depression revolves around the causes,

  • while still more concerns the degree to which the federal government's eventual response,

  • the New Deal, actually helped to end the Depression.

  • Those questions are controversial because they're still relevant. We're still talking about how to regulate banking.

  • We're still talking about what the government's role in economic policy should be

  • and whether a strong federal government is ultimately good for an economy or bad for it.

  • And how you feel about the government's

  • role in the Great Depression is going to depend on how you feel about government in general.

  • That said, we shouldn't let our ideological feelings about markets and governments and economics

  • obscure the suffering that millions of Americans experienced during the Great Depression.

  • For generations of Americans, it was one of the defining experiences of their lives.

  • Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week.

  • Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller, written by Raoul Meyer,

  • and made with the help of all of these nice people. And it is possible because of your support through Subbable.

  • These videos are only possible because of

  • the support Crash Course viewers give the show on a monthly basis through Subbable.

  • There's a link in the video info if you'd like to join those subscribers.

  • Cool perks and stuff, but mostly educational video available for free to everyone forever.

  • Thank you for watching and supporting Crash Course and as we say in my hometown,

  • don't forget to be awesome...I'm gonna hit the globe! Nailed it.

  • ________________ [1] David Kennedy, Freedom From Fear: The

  • American People in Depression and War 1929-1945. Oxford U. Press. P. 35

  • [2] P. 52 [3] Kennedy, D. Freedom From Fear p. 88

Hi, I'm John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. history and Herbert Hoover's here,

字幕と単語

動画の操作 ここで「動画」の調整と「字幕」の表示を設定することができます

B1 中級

世界大恐慌クラッシュ・コース アメリカの歴史 #33 (The Great Depression: Crash Course US History #33)

  • 882 68
    Eating に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
動画の中の単語