The Great Crash of 1929 Paperback – Apr 2 1997
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Rampant speculation. Record trading volumes. Assets bought not because of their value but because the buyer believes he can sell them for more in a day or two, or an hour or two. Welcome to the late 1920s. There are obvious and absolute parallels to the great bull market of the late 1990s, writes Galbraith in a new introduction dated 1997. Of course, Galbraith notes, every financial bubble since 1929 has been compared to the Great Crash, which is why this book has never been out of print since it became a bestseller in 1955.
Galbraith writes with great wit and erudition about the perilous actions of investors, and the curious inaction of the government. He notes that the problem wasn't a scarcity of securities to buy and sell; "the ingenuity and zeal with which companies were devised in which securities might be sold was as remarkable as anything." Those words become strikingly relevant in light of revenue-negative start-up companies coming into the market each week in the 1990s, along with fragmented pieces of established companies, like real estate and bottling plants. Of course, the 1920s were different from the 1990s. There was no safety net below citizens, no unemployment insurance or Social Security. And today we don't have the creepy investment trusts--in which shares of companies that held some stocks and bonds were sold for several times the assets' market value. But, boy, are the similarities spooky, particularly the prevailing trend at the time toward corporate mergers and industry consolidations--not to mention all the partially informed people who imagined themselves to be financial geniuses because the shares of stock they bought kept going up. --Lou Schuler
About the Author
John Kenneth Galbraith who was born in 1908, is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the distinguished author of thirty-one books spanning three decades, including The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris, and Moscow University, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Order of Canada and received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Galbraith's theme is that market stability and corporate interests are fundamentally at odds. CEOs will never speak evil about their own companies or the condition of the market, so their speech is about as useful to an investor as a pre-game pep talk is to a bettor. Analysts, as well as executives, are salesmen of their own stock, and their primary objective is to get you to buy high.
So why did the 1929 -- or the 2000 -- crash occur? Buying high is great as long as someone is always buying higher; however, such an aggrandized pyramid scheme is doomed to failure. It's as simple as that. So why, then, read Galbraith's book? He is a talented storyteller, and he highlights themes that are likely to accompany future bubbles so that the reader knows what to be skeptical about. This is a very entertaining read, and if you actively compare what Galbraith tells you of the 20's to what you know about the 90's, you'll likely not be swept away by future investing mania.
According to John Galbraith, the stock-market crash that took place in the fall of 1929 was typical of this prototype. Mr. Galbraith, a Harvard economist, traced the optimism to the Florida real-estate bubble of 1925 which made people forget the elementary rules of money making. What follows is an elegant narrative that interweaves economics with history to produce one of the most telling and lucid accounts of the developments, economic and otherwise, that lead up to the October 1929 crash.
The crash, according to Mr. Galbraith, was caused by an admixture of bad income distribution (economy too dependent on luxury spending and investment), bad corporate structure, bad banking structure, foreign imbalances, and bad economic intelligence. In seeking compelling explanations, the "Great Crash" often resists conventional wisdom: for example, to those who blame the abundance of credit, Mr. Galbraith answers: "on numerous occasions before and since credit has been easy, and there has been no speculation whatever." Mr. Galbraith looks beyond central banking and interest rates to compile a rich and diverse history of the 1929 crash.
So what about preventing future crises? Here, Mr. Galbraith is ambivalent. Regulation has and can play a substantial role in preventing future troubles.Read more ›
He very convincingly establishes a good groundwork for the reader, explaining why the stock market was in such a large expansion and how federal regulation (or lack therof) enabled the financial firms to operate in very risky and perhaps unethical ways.
Obviously, the book chronicles the disastrous declines in 1929 and further discusses the federal government's attempts to revive the American economy, those for the most part failed.
The most important lesson this book can allay to the reader is that economies are not self-sustaining structures that are only subject to supply and demand shifts. In instances like the 1929 crash, the prognosis for dynamic economies can often lie in the actions of a handful of actors/people. A good lesson to remember.
Indeed there are many lessons to be learned from this book, many that are relevant to today's economy (2003). Read this book with care and with a comparative mindset!
A must read for economists and public policy makers!
I think the book is popular because it was written by a Harvard Professor. I have read several books on the depression and this one, because of the hype, was the greatest disappointment.
Most recent customer reviews
This short book contains some of JKG's characteristic wit and insight, but much of it is made of the sort of list-of-big-business numbers trivia one would expect to find in Forbes... Read morePublished on June 21 2013 by ogilvie
Galbraith wrote this book as a warning. People have to understand who a bubble can be created. And bubbles are pretty in every country and in every moment of the capitalism. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2011 by O. Grigoras
The book The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith was very informative, full of facts and other things which made me understand what the great crash was all about. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2002
I had to read this book for a history class in college. Being someone who knows absolutely nothing about the stock market, I found this book very hard to understand and follow. Read morePublished on March 19 2002
Having just lived through the crash of the dot-com stocks, I thought it was a particularly appropriate moment to reread John Kenneth Galbraith's famous history of the stock market... Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2001 by Donald Mitchell
This book contains a great explanation abouth the 1929 crash. But, under my point of view, the most important aspect is that most of the features described in the book can be seen... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001 by Jimmy Izu
Want to know how the unthinkable could happen? Fear not this book exposes the overoptimistic attitude of the average american investor circa 1929, with amazing parallels to the... Read morePublished on May 27 2001 by Mr. J. Holroyd
This book a must for those interested in the "...this time is different..." phenomenon. It is very well written and not too technical. Enjoy.Published on April 8 2001
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Business & Investing > Economics > Economic History
- Books > Business & Investing > Economics > Microeconomics
- Books > Business & Investing > Economics > Theory
- Books > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Production & Operations
- Books > Business & Investing > Popular Economics
- Books > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century
- Books > History > United States > 20th Century
- Books > Professional & Technical > Accounting & Finance > Economics > Economic History
- Books > Professional & Technical > Accounting & Finance > Economics > Microeconomics
- Books > Professional & Technical > Accounting & Finance > Economics > Theory
- Books > Professional & Technical > Business Management > Management & Leadership > Production & Operations