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Four ways economic crises can change things for the better

WWI and women working

WWI and women working

Over a century ago, women in the UK weren't allowed to own property, open a bank account, or work in a legal or civil service job.

When WW1 broke out in 1914, over a million women joined the workforce over the next four years to keep the economy going, even in jobs that were not previously open to them.

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Four ways economic crises can change things for the better

Four ways economic crises can change things for the better

https://theconversation.com/four-ways-economic-crises-can-change-things-for-the-better-138751

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

WWII and the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) was established in 1948 and is funded from general taxation. Before the NHS, people were expected to pay the hospital or a private doctor if they needed to use medical services.

WWII necessitated government-supported medical services to become freely available for everyone.

More people go to university

Recessions and the lack of jobs that ensues can lead more people to pursue education. This progress also affects subsequent generations.

A more educated workforce tends to make an economy more productive and profitable. The knock-on effects include society's health, lower crime rates, voting, and volunteering.

Creative destruction

Economic crises often purge inefficient or out-of-date structures. New entities emerge in their place.

In early 2000, the Nasdaq stock exchange crashed after years of the share prices of online companies rising. Underperforming firms that based their growth on the hype around the internet closed. But the crash accelerated the rise of eBay, Google, Amazon, and other tech companies.

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Innovation is driven by incentives

There are three types of incentives:

  1. "If I don't figure this out, I might get fired." It will get you moving.
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During World War II, there was a burst of scientific progress that took place. The government was in effect saying that if a discovery had any possible war value, then it had to be developed and put in use, regardless of the expense.

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In 1932, the stock market fell by 89%. It was an economic disaster where almost a quarter of Americans were out of work. However, the 1930s was also the most productive and technologically progressive decade in history. Economist Alex Field writes that in 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with little increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input.

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A living wage

Asking millions of able-bodied workers to stop working creates a crisis of unemployment.

During this time, the U.S. is expanding unemployment benefits and are also delaying tax filing. In northern-European countries, the government is directly paying businesses to maintain their payrolls to avoid mass layoffs and furloughs.

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