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So far, the collapse of the world economy since April 2008 has been worse than the collapse in the Great Depression. One glance at the fall world output, trade, and stock prices puts the recent "green shoots" in perspective.
The government policy response to the collapse, however, has been much more aggressive. Thus, we will soon collectively learn whether the economic historians are right that the original Great Depression was caused by "policy errors" after the collapse...or whether, as some suspect, there is simply no way to avoid catastrophe after a financial bubble the size of the one we just had.
Professors Barry Eichengreen (Berkeley) and Kevin O'Rourke (Trinity) have updated their series of charts that compare the progress of this "Depression event", as they're calling it, with the Great Depression. The originals and a more detailed write-up can be found here, at Vox. We've arranged them into a quick slideshow below.
How does the current economic and financial downturn match up to past contractions?
In an attempt to present matters in historical context, Paul Swartz of the Council on Foreign Relations recently published a chart book showing that the current economic environment has been more severe than a typical recession. He specifically highlights the following four conclusions: