March 17, 2014
THE GREAT DEPRESSION
THE GREAT CRASH
• The Depression as calamity of the Atlantic economy
• October 29 was seen as the beginning of the depression (it was the crash of the
• Stock market crash was a symptom rather than a cause of the depression
• High reparations following WW1.
• In October 1929, people in Alberta don’t seem to be affected as much
• ‘Tight’ money policies in the US and Germany – what people were doing were,
spending less. What keens wanted to do was spend more during this time, because
if they didn’t things would begin to shut down, and that’s exactly what started
happening. – This was called the “Holly Smoot Tariff”
• All of this reduces international markets
• Stock Market crashes, 1929, lowers private wealth.
• Consumer uncertainty, now the problem was that there was a surplus of product,
and produces it quickly, but nobody could afford to buy it.
• Protectionist tariffs
• Wheat and wheat flour 36% of Canada’s export economy
• Nearly 2/3’s of Canada’s exports went to Britain and the US
• Price in wheat collapses.
• $1.24/bushel in 1929 to $0.64/ bushel in 1930
• Even while acreage and production increasing: farmers expanded their acreage far
more intensively because they thought they would make more profit like that. But
from making more, they are just adding more to a surplus market, and it causes
the prices to drop down even more.
• Pools in trouble, farmers in debt
• Net farm income by 1932 at minus 3.1 m
• Over production (but it wasn’t really the farmer’s fault)
• Farmers also have high debt and in many cases, they cant possibly pay
• At the same time the Banks wont lend the farmers any money or credit.
• Numbers elusive
• Estimated 20% of the workforce is out of work in 1931
• By 1933, some 30% of the workforce is jobless
• Hidden unemployment
Underemployment (those who worked for others, as a side job)
Migrant Workers (they work in a seasonal rhythm) Women were counted either (because they were more to be homemakers)
Farmers (were not included, because they could not be unemployed because they
work for themselves and not underneath someone else (independent commodity
workers that’s what they were called)).
• Average per capita income fell from $548 in 1929 to $212 in 1933
• Well below national average