What the 21st century can learn from the 1929 crash | Larry Elliott
It was the biggest setback to the global economy since the dawn of the modern industrial age. But did the worlds reaction worsen the effects of the 1929 Crash? And have we learned from those mistakes?
As the summer of 1929 drew to a close, the celebrated Yale university economist Irving Fisher took to the pages of the New York Times to opine about Wall Street. Share prices had been rising all year; investors had been speculating with borrowed money on the assumption that the good times would continue. It was the bull market of all time, and those taking a punt wanted reassurance that their money was safe.
Fisher provided it for them, predicting confidently: Stock markets have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. On that day, the Wall Street Crash of October 1929 was less than two months away. It was the worst share tip in history. Nothing else comes close.
The crisis broke on Thursday 24 October, when the market dropped by 11%. Black Thursday was followed by a 13% fall on Black Monday and a further 12% tumble on Black Tuesday. By early November, Fisher was ruined and the stock market was in a downward spiral that would only bottom out in June 1932, at which point companies quoted on the New York stock exchange had lost 90% of their value and the world had changed utterly.