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TheGreat Depression

Lifein the Great Depression was very difficult. The depression whichbegan in 1929 and affected the entire world, had effects that variedfrom nation to nation. It was the most widespread depression in the20thcentury. The lives of people across the world were affected becausethe level of GDP dropped by 15% which led to reduced amount ofresources in the world including food and money.1People could not afford basic needs due to lack of these resources.As a result of the low GDP across the world, nations could notsupport their citizens sufficiently through reliefs, grants andsubsidies. Rich and poor people experienced devastating effects as aresult of the depression. Personal income of citizens in almost allcountries of the world declined, and government tax revenue alsodecreased significantly, affecting government budgets andexpenditure. Business profits and prices of goods and services alsodeclined significantly. This means that products and services lostvalue hence trade and exchange was paralyzed, and people could notafford necessities that they did not produce.

Citiesof several countries across the world were affected significantly.Those dependent on heavy industries especially in the western worldexperienced a decline in development and growth rates. Constructionsand in the cities were stopped and business declined. Industrialcities also experienced shortage of money and resources which halteddevelopments including business expansion, building of industries,construction of buildings and infrastructure, and payment of billsand utilities.2People living in cities also experienced unemployment as businessesfailed and the government’s expenditure declined. Shipbuilding insome cities such as Great Britain also halted transport and movementof goods between cities causing lack of resources and money forrunning the cities.

TheGreat Depression also affected farmers across the world because theyexperienced decline in their crop prices. Demand for crops and otherfarm products also dropped, causing farmers to lose their harvests orsell them at cheap prices that could not earn them enough money togrow. Exports also dropped, leading to decreased disposable incomeand low purchasing power for farmers. As a result of plummetingdevelopment and trade in cities, farmers also lacked means oftransport and markets for their products. Roads and otherinfrastructures were not maintained due to reduced resources, causingtransportation of farm products to the markets difficult.

Minoritygroups and children also faced difficulties during the greatdepression. Due to lack of employment, the minority groups lackedresources and money to meet their daily needs. Their families andrelatives could also not help them sufficiently because they toolacked money and resources as a result of reduced disposable income.Children faced hunger and received little help from their parents whoalso lacked money and resources as a result of low disposable incomeduring the depression.3

Indeed,the Great Depression had significant negative socioeconomic impactsacross the world. It led to decreased GDP, unemployment, low prices,and reduced disposable income. These effects affected the lives ofpeople in cities and rural areas. It caused lack of money andresources which led to reduced development, trade and constructionsin. It also caused low prices for crops of farmers, leading to lowincome and poor living standards for them. Lastly, the GreatDepression caused unemployment and lack of resources for minoritygroups and children, causing hunger and inability to meet basicneeds.


Freedman,Russell. Childrenof the Great Depression.New York: Clarion Books, 2005.

Madsen,Jakob, B. “Trade Barriers and the Collapse of World Trade duringthe Great Depression.” SouthernEconomic Journal,SouthernEconomic Journal67, no. 4 (2001): 848–868.

Mundell,R.A. “A Reconsideration of the Twentieth Century.” TheAmerican Economic Review 90, No. 3 (June 2000): 327–340.

Terkel,Studs. HardTimes: An Oral History of the Great Depression.New York: Pantheon Books, 1970.

1 Freedman, Russell. Children of the Great Depression. New York: Clarion Books, 2005

2 Terkel, Studs. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression. New York: Pantheon Books, 1970.

3 Mundell, R.A. “A Reconsideration of the Twentieth Century.” The American Economic Review 90, No. 3 (June 2000): 327–340.