NEW YORK, March 24—The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) awarded King’s student Nicole Bianchi, and her younger brother Michael first place, and $1,500 in prize money, for their video submission to FEE’s Great Myths of the Great Depression video contest.
The FEE contest was launched in a political climate not so different than the 1930’s. Government leaders around the world weigh two dramatically opposed economic strategies for addressing the global downturn: austerity and stimulus. Advocates of stimulus spending point to the Great Depression as proof that governments must grow if economies are to recover. But does the Great Depression really support a big government agenda? Nicole and Michael doubt it.
Throughout their eight minute video (embedded below), Nicole and Michael use Lawrence W. Reed’s essay Great Myths of the Great Depression to address common misconceptions about the causes and historical remedy for the Great Depression. The video focuses on two main myths: that free markets were to blame for the economic collapse and that government intervention brought about America’s recovery.
Nicole and Michael argue that bad government policy, not stock speculators, were to blame for the depth of the economic crisis. They point out that between 1921 and 1928, the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by 60%, driving down interest rates and boosting the stock market. Between 1928 and 1931, however, the Fed raised interest rates, creating a major drag on the economy. At the same time, President Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tarrif, which banned the import of foreign goods, compounding the economic downturn even more. With the election of FDR came a slew of government spending on wasteful jobs, as well as costly regulations like the Wagner Act.
After a month for contest participants to promote their videos, the videos were judged by a panel of experts selected by FEE. Essays were judged on content, persuasiveness, as well as the number of hits, comments, “likes,” and shares the videos received.
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building in New York City.