10/10/2011 08:54 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2011

David Leonhardt: Why We Were Better Off During The Great Depression

Economists often distinguish between cyclical trends and secular trends — which is to say, between short-term fluctuations and long-term changes in the basic structure of the economy. No decade points to the difference quite like the 1930s: cyclically, the worst decade of the 20th century, and yet, secularly, one of the best.

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