Back in 2009, there was much talk about the shape of the recession - was it a V, W, U or L. A decade on from the first market tremors, it still feels like a very long L.
Among other advances, the 1870s saw rapid growth of railways (especially in the US), steamships and refrigeration. In many ways, it was the first wave of globalisation. Together, these contributed to sharp drops in agricultural prices in particular.
But the Long Depression lasted over two decades (1873-96). Is it time to revise our scenario planning?
When the economy fell off a cliff in 2008, policy-makers and politicians looked back to the 1930s for lessons. But that was mainly because they are familiar with it. They learnt about in school, and they’ve seen it in movies. But in fact, the 1870s are a more instructive parallel. It was a slump caused by a build of debt, the arrival of new technologies, and a massive continental power that was flooding the world with cheap goods – the US then like China today.