The Great Depression was the greatest economic slump to ever occur in US history. The depression began in late 1929 and lasted throughout the following decade. Several factors played key roles in bringing about the depression. However, the most significant and direct causes were those of the unequal distribution of the wealth throughout the twenties, and the extensive stock market speculation that took place during the latter part of that same decade. .
The former cause was a problem that affected the world on many levels from different social classes to entire countries. This imbalance of wealth created a greatly unstable economy. The other main cause, stock market speculation, kept the market artificially high and appeared very inviting for those wishing to invest. However, the market eventually took a terrible turn for the worst causing the capsize of all investors, especially the very wealthy. The money-based class system was suddenly crumbled as those former high-class citizens took to the streets.
A major reason for the large and growing gap between the rich and the working class people was the increased manufacturing output throughout this time period. During the 1920's, the average output per worker increased rapidly. However, though a great deal more work was being done, the average wage for a manufacturing worker increased minimally. The bulk benefit of the increased productivity went directly into corporate profits.
Though the Great Depression has long since ended, it continues to leave an indelible imprint on our economic society. It has affected not only the United States, but also the entire world as a whole. Thankfully, precautions have now been taken to ensure that an event of this economical magnitude cannot occur again.