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Financial Lessons from History and Their Relevance to Today’s Economy

Anyone who is a history buff or a fan John Fitzgerald, has learned about the splendor of the Roaring Twenties - economically and socially. The Roaring Twenties was a time of economic prosperity and optimism, much like the economy before COVID-19. Like the Roaring Twenties leading to the Great Depression, COVID prompted significant shifts in today's economy. 

A look at past events illustrates the cyclical nature of economic performance. The Roaring Twenties and the COVID-19 pandemic teach us how overspending can inflate our economy.

The Importance of Regulation

The Great Depression of the 1930s stands as one of the most profound economic crises in history. It taught us a vital lesson about the need for financial regulation and oversight. The unregulated financial markets of that era helped lead to the economic collapse.

Now, you think society would have learned its lesson, but the 2008 financial crisis showed us that the lessons from the Great Depression had been forgotten. In the lead-up to the crisis, relaxed regulations, irresponsible lending, and a lack of oversight in the financial industry contributed to one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression. 

The film "The Big Short" from 2015 references multiple ways the absence of regulations contributes to economic turmoil. 

An essential element in safeguarding financial stability is choosing to bank with institutions that offer federal insurance protection. Federally insured credit unions, regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), provide a specific level of protection for your funds. Being federally insured is important because, in the event of an economic downturn, your money remains secure, and you are guaranteed to recover a set limit of your funds. Suppose the financial institution has faced any insolvency legal troubles or fails to fulfill its commitments regarding loans, investments, and more. In that case, the NCUA provides a safety net, protecting your financial interests.

Policymakers also strengthened financial regulations by implementing reforms such as the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act is a U.S. law that helped reform financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis. It aims to enhance supervision and regulation of financial institutions while protecting consumers.

The Importance of Inflation 

After a period of depression, a recession often follows, and it's during recessions that terms like "inflation" frequently surface. Inflation refers to the continuous increase in prices. The Great Inflation, which occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, is a prime example of this phenomenon. It was characterized by a substantial expansion of the money supply, leading to surging prices and economic instability. 

Today, financial institutions maintain control over inflation by regulating the growth of the money supply. They achieve this through monetary policy, which adjusts interest rates and bank reserve requirements. The Federal Reserve Bank executes monetary policy.

History offers many financial lessons that remain relevant to today's economy, from the importance of financial regulation to the dangers of market vitality. By studying these lessons and applying them to today's society, we can make better-informed decisions and predictions. 

References:

The Great Inflation | Federal Reserve History

Monetary Policy Meaning, Types, and Tools (investopedia.com)

Lessons of 2008: What the US Learned from the Great Recession - Brown Political Review

Ten Lessons from the Economic Crisis of 2008 | Cato Institute

Lessons From the 2008 Financial Crisis (investopedia.com)

Dodd-Frank Act: What It Does, Major Components, and Criticisms (investopedia.com

11.2: The Great Depression as Regulatory Failure - Business LibreTexts