The Great Depression Will Not Help Us Solve the COVID-19 Downturn

The Stories of Past Economic Crises Are Nuanced, Complex, Messy, and Don’t Point to an Obvious Path Forward

Unemployment levels not seen since the 1930s have prompted journalists and pundits in the U.S. to look back to previous eras—particularly the Great Depression—for lessons on how to escape the current economic crisis. What are the main lessons that historians and economists have learned from previous recessions, and how might they be applied by policymakers in the time of COVID-19? Unfortunately, there are few straightforward answers. Previous economic eras, when understood with all of their nuance, complexity, messiness, and ambiguity, do not point to an obvious path ahead.

As a …

What George Bailey’s Building and Loan Company Can Still Teach Us About Banking

In His Time and Ours, Big Lenders Often Get a Pass, While Small Banks and the Communities They Serve Are Left Vulnerable

The bank run scene in It’s a Wonderful Life always makes me cry real tears. If you care about America, you should love the scene too—and not just because it …

Rely on Angela Merkel; Don’t Rely on the Fed

New York Times Columnist Roger Cohen on Germany’s Election and A Discussion of What’s Next for the U.S. Economy

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen—formerly a Berlin-based correspondent—talks with Anne-Marie Slaughter about Angela Merkel’s victory in Germany and how it will affect the nation’s place on the world stage. New …