The Causes of the 1929 Stock Market Crash: A Speculative Orgy or a New Era?

The Causes of the 1929 Stock Market Crash: A Speculative Orgy or a New Era?

The Causes of the 1929 Stock Market Crash: A Speculative Orgy or a New Era?

The Causes of the 1929 Stock Market Crash: A Speculative Orgy or a New Era?

Synopsis

Attempting to reveal the real causes of the 1929 market crash, Bierman refutes the popular belief that wild speculation had excessively driven up stock market prices and resulted in the crash. Although he acknowledges some prices of stocks such as utilities and banks were overpriced, reasonable explanations exist for the level and increase of all other securities prices. Indeed, if stocks were overpriced in 1929, then they are even more overpriced in the current era of staggering growth in stock prices and investment in securities. The causes of the 1929 crash, Bierman argues, lie in an unfavorable decision by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities coupled with the popular practice known as debt leverage in the 1920s corporate and investment arena.

Excerpt

In 1991 I wrote a book titled The Great Myths of 1929 and the Lessons to Be Learned. There were seven myths about 1929 that I discussed and refuted. The myth that is most relevant to this book is (The Great Myths, p. 14) "Stocks were obviously overpriced (the evidence suggests stocks were reasonably priced)."

The stock market, in general, was not reasonably priced, but I do want to refine my conclusion based on additional research. While I still think stocks were not obviously overpriced in general, there was one sector of the market, public utilities, that can be shown to be overpriced, and two sectors, the investment trusts and banks, that may have been overpriced.

This book is an attempt to define the causes of the 1929 stock market crash. In 1991 I could refute the myths, but I could not explain the crash. Now I have reasonable explanations. There were several factors that combined in October 1929 to bring it about.

It is important that the causes be properly understood, because the 1929 stock market was not that much different than the market today or different than the market could be at any time in the future.

OTHER READINGS

There have been many books written about 1929 and the great crash. On the optimistic end of the spectrum are Fisher (1930) . . .

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