Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment

The Great Depression seen from the European periphery. Germán Bernácer in the 1930s.

Zabalza Juan, University of Alicante (Spain)

This work focuses on the analyses of the Great Depression by the Spanish independent economist Germán Bernácer, who might be considered as part of the “brave army of heretics” to which Keynes referred to in the General Theory. In fact, Bernácer is known as he had developed an original economic model in the 1920s through which he tried to explain economic fluctuations by giving particular significance to the final destination of hoarded money. In particular, the hoarded money which is not invested in productive activities (but in real estate or land properties) becomes the ultimate cause of economic depressions. Bernácer’s method of analysis, according to some historians, might have influenced on Robertson’s lagged relationship between income and savings and indirectly in Keynes’s Treatise on Money. The fact is that once Keynes published the Treatise in 1930, Bernácer claimed intellectual priority and rewrote his contributions of the 1920s in a new way which formally is closer to the Treatise’s fundamental equations. These major ideas are the tools used by Bernácer to thoroughly analyze the economic events of the 1930s (gold standard, public works, 40-hours week, and many others) in the reports that he wrote weekly for the members of the Council of the Bank of Spain. These unpublished reports, which have not been still analyzed, are an outstanding observatory of the development of the Great Depression in both, the main Western economies and Spain.

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Keywords: Great Depression, Business cycles, Spain

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