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18 Recessions in 90 Years



October 24, 2009 – Comments (8)

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the United States has had 18(!) recessions in the last 90 years - one every five years. Please be aware that one of the reasons America adopted the Central Banking system was to stablize the business cycle.  In this respect, a reasonable person must conclude that the Federal Reserve has failed. 

From a contrarian perspective, not all recessions are created equal and many of the recessions of the 20th century were minor, with a few notable exceptions.  It is also true that the 19th century also had many recessions, about the same average of one every 5 years or so.  Although it is difficult to accumulate accurate economic data for the 19th century (or any period with government collected data), we are now seeing that certain presumed disasters were quite mild in retrospect.  The "Long Depression" of the 1870s is now nearly universally regarded as a period of tremendous prosperity and growth, contrary to the original academic view that focused only on a contraction in the money supply, and assumed therefore that the economy was stagnant.  It turns out, the economy grew during the 1870s despite monetary contraction.  Academic historians are left to lament supposed wealth inequalities as if merely mentioning that some people have more than others is enough to cast a shadow on any era.  Socialists are so pathetic.

The recessions (or worse) of the 20th century are as follows:


Perhaps we can not stabilitze the business cycle by manipulating monetary policy and interest rates.  It seems to be a preponderous intrusion on our liberty and our Constitution for such meager results (if you can even call them that.)  If we can't "stabilize" the business cycle, perhaps we should look at alternatives that don't result in a revokation of property rights, increased militariztion and police statism, increased lobbying, and decreasing purchasing power.  That is quite the high price for such a small return.

David in Qatar

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 24, 2009 at 6:44 PM, Darvo285 (< 20) wrote:

David, I am having difficulty understanding you....Meager results? Small returns? What are these things you speak of and what do they have to do with anything?  I am only familiar with intentions, that is what is most important right?


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#2) On October 24, 2009 at 7:03 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


I'm just looking at it from an amoral, or perhaps utilitarian perspective.  Is the supposed benefit from the Fed enough to justify the negatives.  On this particular argument, it is not.  I've written about the problems of central banking from an ethical, economical, and Constitutional perspective before.  

David in Qatar 

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#3) On October 24, 2009 at 7:36 PM, Darvo285 (< 20) wrote:


I completely agree, my apologies for the sarcastic post earlier. I was just trying to make a point that many of the problems today are trying to be solved using the good intentions of a measure and not the actual results.

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#4) On October 24, 2009 at 8:13 PM, Somnambulo (54.39) wrote:

You guys are assuming th Fed was formed with good intentions? The Fed was not a good idea for the American people, and Woodrow Wilson lamented having helped put them in power in retrospect. We still have recessions and now the banks can better time the crashes, so banks like GS can short at will, that was the result and that was one of the reasons the banksters wanted in. The crash of fall 2008 was caused by an entity puling 500 billion out of the market in about two hours. The idea that we can't find out who was responsible is totally retarded. If another nation yanked a half a trillion out of the market in two hours, the U.S. would hang them by their balls, so the number pf suspects is very narrow as to who timed the crash with that kind of money.  

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#5) On October 24, 2009 at 8:37 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


I am definitely not saying anything of the sort. Please take a few minutes to go over my previous blogs. I think I've written about the Fed about 12-15 times. I am vehemently anti-Fed and anarcho-capitalist.

David in Qatar

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#6) On October 24, 2009 at 8:43 PM, Darvo285 (< 20) wrote:


I was the one who was talking about good intentions, not David. I obviously was not around when the Fed was formed but the argument for the Fed when it is brought up in conversation usually goes some like this, "The Fed is necessary to control inflation" (good intention) fails miserably. Judged by intentions, not results.


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#7) On October 24, 2009 at 10:37 PM, Somnambulo (54.39) wrote:

whereaminow - my apologies. Darvo285 - understood, but the idea that the Fed controlling is controlling inflation with good intentions  is what rankles my feathers. Right out of the gates it was obvious what their real intentions were. Check out the history of the Fed. They were created by a skeleton crew of corrupt Congressman during a Christmas session; there were just enough people there to make the vote possible. When their colleagues returned from the holidays they were livid, and the session that followed left some very memorable quotes and scathing monologues about what had been done to our country.     

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#8) On October 28, 2009 at 3:18 PM, TMFDarwood11 (< 20) wrote:

Hmmm... Perhaps they're still learning. Check back in another 90 years. We'll see how the Chinese did it. 

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