Waitaminit. This Stuff Repeats Itself?

Paul Krugman:

What Eichengreen-O’Rourke show, it seems to me, is that knowledge is the only thing standing between us and Great Depression 2.0. It’s only to the extent that we understand these things a bit better than our grandfathers – and that we act on that knowledge – that we have any real reason to think this time will be better.

Fat times for social studies teachers right now. Just wait until The Great Protractor War of 1875 revives itself. Then it’ll be our turn.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Indeed – I had the experience of teaching print media on Sept 11th, 2001 during my internship, and now I have a History of the 20th century course. Not fortunate in the traditional sense, but definitely easy to tie to present resources.

  2. I agree that this is, sadly in a way, awesome times for social studies teachers. I just got done with a project comparing the 20 & 30s to the 00s. Students loved it, asked a lot of questions, and learned a lot.

    Incidentally, if the Great Protractor War of 1875 happens again, social studies teachers also get to enjoy it!

  3. Well, Hegelians think so, which is the dominant theory (or base for most “historic” theories out there). Seriously, every severe recession brings with it a bunch of folks (inc. history teachers) asking, “Is this the next depression?” They’re closer on this one than I’m happy with but there is also a tendency to look for:

    The next Great Depression;
    The next charismatic President (JFK redeux) and then worry about him getting cut-down in his prime;
    The next First WW, or the next Second WW. I loved Kosovo/Yugoslavia for this because the Clinton’s saw WWII, and the Europeans feared WWI.

    Jamie Galbraith even more than Krugman, is into interpreting this downturn/recession/proto-depression through the lens of history, as all the econ models have proved themselves unworthy. May have a point.

  4. I ended last week’s discussion on Great Depression 1.0 vs. 2.0 with “So, at no other time in the history of the US have we been in such dire economic straights. Except right now as we speak. So if you are thinking of graduating next year and going out and getting a job…good luck. Oh, you are going to go to college and come out with a job? You’ll remember the charts I showed you in the beginning with the unemployment numbers? 4 years after Oct, 1929 was 1933. The bottom of the bottom. Again, good luck.”