Students today are often given a skewed account of the Great Depression of 1929-1941 that condemns free-market capitalism as the cause of, and promotes government intervention as the solution to, the economic hardships of the era. In this essay based on a popular lecture, Mackinac Center for Public Policy President Lawrence W. Reed debunks the conventional view and traces the central role that poor government policy played in fostering this legendary catastrophe.
"Postscript: Have We Learned Our Lessons?
Eighty years after the Great Depression began, the literature on this painful episode of American history is undergoing an encouraging metamorphosis. The conventional assessment that so dominated historical writings for decades argued that free markets caused the debacle and that FDR's New Deal saved the country. Surely, there are plenty of poorly informed partisans, ideologues and quacks that still make these superficial claims. Serious historians and economists, however, have been busy chipping away at the falsehoods. The essay you have just read cites many recent works worth careful reading in their entirety."
Lawrence W. Reed
Lawrence W. (Larry) Reed (born September 29, 1953) is president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), offices in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia, a position he has held since September 1, 2008. Before joining FEE, Reed served as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland, Michigan based free-market think tank. To date, he remains Mackinac’s president emeritus.
Reed has authored over 1,000 columns and articles dozens in newspapers, magazines and journals in the U. S. and abroad, as well as five books. He has lectured in dozens of nations. Reed’s articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. His interests in political and economic affairs have taken him to 72 countries on six continents. He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University (Public Administration—1993) and Northwood University (Laws—2008). He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and is an adviser to numerous organizations around the world. A full bio is available at FEE.org and on Wikipedia.