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Capitalism in crisis, a warning from history: Eighty years ago, a banking collapse devastated Europe, triggering war. Today, faith in the free markets is faltering again

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Dominic Sandbrook
UK Daily Mail
Aug 6, 2011

Exactly 80 years ago, international capitalism stood on the verge of meltdown.

The collapse of the banking system in the summer of 1931 sent shockwaves through Europe, bringing governments to their knees and thousands out onto the streets.

In the United States, an increasingly careworn president and his congressional critics fought a bitter battle over government spending and tax rises.

And in Britain, with the Labour government broken by the economic crisis, a Conservative-dominated coalition imposed the deepest spending cuts in a generation, slashing benefits in an attempt to restore confidence in the nation’s finances.

With the banks refusing to lend, and millions of people thrown out of work, capitalism itself seemed utterly discredited.

In other countries, many turned to the far Right, swelling the ranks of the Nazis and their allies.

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Capitalism in crisis, a warning from history: Eighty years ago, a banking collapse devastated Europe, triggering war. Today, faith in the free markets is faltering again  150709banner2

This article was posted: Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 4:04 am





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