The Great Depression

TheGreat Depression

TheGreat Depression is an infamous economic downturn that began in theUnited States and soon spread to other western countries. It is stillthe longest and the most severe economic crisis among the westernindustrialized countries presently. The financial crisis started inOctober 1929 after the stock market crashed and drained millions ofdollars in investment capital as well as put the Wall Street in asevere panic. In the subsequent decade, the financial situationworsened as the industries laid off employees, and the industrialoutput decreased steadily. Unemployment increased steadily. Thepeople in the urban centers faced starvation while some farmers inthe rural region let their crops rot in the garden because theylacked a market for their products. Similarly, other farmersharvested nothing due to extensive drought and damage to crops bypests such as the locusts. The escalating financial crisis led todroughts, high unemployment and even closure of financialinstitutions that obliged President Franklin Roosevelt to pioneer theNew Deal policies that effectively prevented the United State’seconomy from falling to the rock bottom.

OnSeptember 6, 1936, President Roosevelt addressed the nation regardingthe drought condition facing the United States. He delivered thespeech via radio from the White House. He based the speech on thegreen liberalism theory that advocates the effective use ofagricultural land to maximize its productivity. The philosophicalapproach emphasizes on protecting the planet earth so that it can bepassed to future generations unharmed. The speech specificallyaddressed various methods to curtail the effects of the drought thatled to an excessive reduction of food production. According to thespeech on drought conditions, the president attributed the depressionto inadequate food production as well as poor environmentalconservation to the excessively decreased basic food supplies to theAmerican citizens.

Secondly,President also attributed the Great Depression to economic factors. He used the fiscal conservatism theory to describe the occurrence ofthe financial via a radio broadcast in 1938. He associatedover-speculation and overproduction of several instruments. Consequently, overproduction resulted in their purchasing power dueto an imbalance of the demand and supply law. Since most commoditieswere produced, and the instruments in the stock market wereovervalued, the panic in the market made investors start getting ridof their investments in the stock market, an action that renderedmade the capital market unable to sustain its value. As a result,the president urged the banks to remain closed for four days so thatdepositors could not withdraw their money. He also urged thecitizens to restrict their spending, as that would in turn decreasethe government’s operational budget.

TheMarch 12, 1933, Fireside Chat was another famous radio speechbroadcast live from the White House. The president emphasized on thefiscal conservatism theory, which mainly centered on encouraging thecitizens to deposit their cash in the banks. The president arguedthat the money that the Americans will deposit in the institutionwould help the financial institutions to stabilize the economythrough offering loans to the investors, mortgages as well assupporting other financial instruments that would decrease monetaryvolatility. The president delivered the speech just before theintroduction of the BankingAct of 1933,which mainly favored the financial institution since and thecorporate businesses as it ensured the money deposited in the banksis safe through the prohibition of speculative investment.

Accordingto the John Steinbeck’s film, InDubious Battle (1936),the author explores the struggles that laborers face in a farm aftertheir employers decrease their wages to unimaginable levels. Theexploitation motivates some employees to organize a labor strike toforce the employers to increase their remuneration. The film adoptsthe theory of green syndicalism, which prohibits capitalism. Instead,it campaigns for a democratic system that is focused on thesatisfaction of human needs instead of amassing private wealth. Inthe movie, the author explores the exploitation that the migrantapple pickers face at their workplaces. They are paid meagerearnings, and when they protest their employers send armed guards whokill some of the participants in the demonstration. As a result, thelaborers struggled with poverty while their employers enjoyed hugereturns from their hard work. The film attributes escalation of theGreat Depression to the United States’ government lack ofcontrolling the labor laws. The farm owners decreased the wages ofthe employees drastically, which in turn increased their profitmargins. President Roosevelt’s administration realized that theemployers were deliberately oppressing the employees by giving themexploitative remuneration. As a result, the Wagner Act (Second NewDeal) was gradually implemented and modified between 1935 and 1938.The policy favored employees as it stressed encouraged formation oflabor unions with a capacity to make collective bargains with theiremployees, establishment of the Social Security Act that aided bothmigrant workers and the farmers as well as the foundation of theWorks Progress Administration (WPA), which was a relief program thatprovides employment opportunities to the employees.

Similarly,TheRiver (1938),which is a documentary film by Pare Lorentz explores the history ofthe Mississippi and its value to the Americans. Mississippi is acrucial source of water for both farming and human consumption.Nonetheless, humans destroy the ecosystem by cutting down trees alongthe river, overgrazing and over cultivation that makes the fertilesoil vulnerable to soil erosion. The environment irresponsibility inturn makes fields that were previously productive unable to produceadequate yields to sustain the populations residing in the regions.Moreover, the industries in such areas are forced to lay offemployees while others close due to lack of raw materials needed tokeep them running. The film uses the agrarian socialism theory, whichadvocates intensification of agricultural products to enhanceeconomic returns and food sustainability. The farmers along theMississippi River would find this document compelling as ithighlights possible issues that are contributing to the lack ofproductivity of the agricultural lands.

Accordingto the three sources, they indicate that the first New Deal -Financial Act of 1933- was effective since it helped in the reductionof risky investments. Besides, it reduced unfair competition offinancial institutions that lead to unhealthy competition such asgiving loans to undeserving clients. In particular, the value of thepolicy is emphasized by Roosevelt’s first Fire Chat broadcast onMarch 12, 1933. It emphasized the significance of the establishmentof strict regulations to prevent banks from collapsing orexperiencing financial stress during an economic downturn in thefuture. Secondly, The River (1938) is an inspiring document to thefarmers located along the Mississippi River since it offers anoverview of the precautions landowners could use to enhance theproductivity of their farms. If the new deal policies existed before1929, the regulations could have effectively prevented the financialcrisis that faced the United States.