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Depression 15 C h a p t e r O n e R. G. Le Tourneau’s Prosperity Gospel On September 27, 1940, radio listeners across North America tuned in to Ripley’s Believe It or Not to hear evangelical industrialist R. G. Le Tourneau discuss the fi nancial rewards of his faith.1 The program opens with a fi ctional dialogue between Le Tourneau, playing his younger self, and a colleague incredulous that God is their chief stakeholder. “The time . . . December, 1929, just after the memorable Wall Street crash,” the narrator intones. “The place— the office of a small

F O U R Crafting the Depression It makes little or no difference to me whether the victims of this economic depres- sion are suffering from a situation caused by the failure of industrial and fi nancial leadership or lack of statesmanship in this country, or whether men and women are suffering from some act of God. The suffering is just as acute and the victims are as much in need of relief in the one case as in the other.1 —Senator Robert La Follette Jr., December 1930 La Follette was not blazing new ground in contesting the relevance of the distinction

great depression follies 1 one It Sometimes Rains in Nice 3 On July 13, 1931, a rather sad-looking couple, Gerald and Sara Murphy, took the train from Paris to Cherbourg, boarded the liner Aquitania, and sailed for New York City. For much of the past ten years they had been one of the most glamorous American couples in France. When the wealthy young pair arrived in Paris in 1921, they were brimming with self-confidence and ambition. He was tall, lithe, and handsome; she was vivacious and beautiful. At first, they both took art lessons, and Gerald soon made a

C h a p t e r 5 Depression, 1928–1938 In 1932, Angelo Herndon, a young black Communist organizer in Atlanta, was prosecuted under a Reconstruction- era anti- insurrection act that carried the death penalty. Herndon’s ostensible crime was possession of membership blanks for the Communist Party. The more serious crime, in the eyes of Georgia officials, was his organization of the unemployed through speeches, literature, and protests. Hern- don boasted of his membership in the Communist Party, and received Communist literature. Worse, the charismatic Herndon

ONE American Housing before the Depression == W alter Stabler, who headed the Metropolitan Life InsuranceCompany's urban mortgage department, told a special Sen..ate committee in 1920 that "the housing question" consti.. tuted the most serious problem "that this country has ever seen" and warned that it was "growing worse steadily."1 He argued for federal action in the form of lifting taxes on income from residential real estate investment. Stabler was only one of many prominent figures in this era who believed that the gov.. ernment needed to intervene in some

8 The stock market collapse of Black Thursday, October 24, 1929, signaled the beginning of an unprecedented economic panic and depression that did not end until the outbreak of World War II. The “high” living days of the Roar- ing Twenties soon turned into the gray somber days of the Great Depression. American institutions, especially the capitalist free market economic system but also democracy, came under question as the country looked for a way out of the economic shambles. Chicago quickly felt the pressure of the financial collapse. By 1930–31, the

c h a p t e r e i g h t Age and Depression in the MIDUS Survey Ronald C. Kessler, Kristin D. Mickelson, Ellen E. Walters, Shanyang Zhao, and Lana Hamilton Community surveys of psychiatric disorder have consistently found a negative relationship between age and lifetime clinical depression (Cross- National Collaborative Group 1992; Blazer et al. 1994; Kanowski 1994), with the highest rates usually found among young adults and the low- est rates usually found among the oldest old. However, the substantive plausibility of this finding has been called into question

127 3 Depression through the Lens of Economics A Research Agenda Jonathan de Quidt and Johannes Haushofer 3.1 Introduction1 Major depressive disorder (MDD; henceforth simply “depression”) is one of the leading causes of disease burden worldwide, second only to lower back pain in terms of years lost to disability (Vos et al. 2012). The cross- sectional prevalence is an estimated 4 to 5 percent of the global population at a given time (Vos et al. 2012; Steel et al. 2014), and lifetime prevalence averages 13 percent across a sample of eighteen countries

2 Fiscal Policy in the Shadow of the Great Depression J. Bradford De Long Before the Great Depression the U.S. government did not have a fiscal policy, at least not in the sense that economists have meant for the past two genera- tions. The government did not attempt to tune its deficit or surplus to achieve the goal of full employment or low inflation. This is not to say that the federal budget was typically in balance. The federal government did borrow, and bor- row on a very large scale in wartime: a typical pre-World War I1 war would end with total

Phase Major Depression Ernst R. Berndt, Susan H. Busch, and Richard G. Frank It is not well to sneer a t political economy in its relation to the insane poor. Whether we think it right or not, the question of cost has determined and will continue to determine their fate for weal or woe. -Asylum Superintendent George Cook, 1866 12.1 Introduction Much has been written in the last decade on broad trends in medical care spending in the United States. Although the most recent evidence is somewhat ambiguous, the apparent slowdown in the rate of increase in