More on my vague contention that the Great Depression was actually structural, not cyclical….

In 1928, as Herbert Hoover campaigned for the presidency, the country was largely prosperous. But a depression was slowly spreading through the agricultural sector. European agriculture had recovered from the ravages of World War I, cutting demand for American exports. And, as more and more land once devoted to fodder crops for horses and mules was turned over to producing food for humans, the food supply at home began to seriously outstrip demand.

I hadn\’t thought of that before. Of course, the mechanisation of farms would reduce labour demand. But also the mechanisation of farms would \”create land\” as oil replaced oats.

4 thoughts on “More on my vague contention that the Great Depression was actually structural, not cyclical….”

  1. What replaced their dung? There must have been a pick-up in manufacture or import of nitrate fertiliser, for example. And “Of course, the mechanisation of farms would reduce labour demand” – on the farms, Tim. But increase it in the factories.

  2. I read 20 ,30 years ago that falls in farm production produced recessions…floods ,droughts,etc…
    the price of food would climb and the rest of the economy whould fall..
    this time farms got hit by over production and went upside down and banks failed…
    leading to the great depression

  3. Well the Agricultural Revolution in the UK is normally credited with paving the way for the Industrial Revolution, so not sure how anyone can claim that combine harvesters caused mass unemployment.

    Of course, some of the original anti-tech rebellions were targeted against farm machines, such as during the attacks on threshing machines during the 1820s. But then the labour supply was temporarily swelled with all those redcoats returning from Spain and from having recently biffed the Froggies at Waterloo.

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