This was a world crisis, not just an American one, and it also was partially responsible for Hitler's rise to power.
It also birthed the SEC, the Federal Reserve, and Social Security.
I'm not an economist. I don't even think most economists are economists, because the theories of operation of the economy are divided strongly along political lines, and it's really so complex that very few people actually understand how it works. It's a hugely complex and dynamic machine that changes form constantly.
So are we heading toward another Great Depression?
Possibly, but unlikely. I think we're headed toward a pretty severe economic crisis the likes of which most of us have never seen.
...a giant suction pump had by 1929-30 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence, as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped.
Our economy has been running on credit for a while, with the concept being that providing easy credit allowed for wide economic stimulation. And it works for a while, until eventually the Ponzi scheme hits the end of what's available, and we become much like Enron, looking blastedly rich on paper, but with the wealth being as illusory as a soap bubble.
So what can we do?
As individuals, we are pretty powerless over the waves of financial stress that will wash over us, and most of us are going to do what we can to stay afloat, be it spending less, taking on more jobs, selling off stuff that we own, or what have you, and I don't think that we're going to escape unscathed.