The most famous depression in modern times, of course, was the one that began in a typical financial panic in 1929 and lasted until the advent of World War II. After the disaster of 1929, economists and politicians resolved that this must never happen again. The easiest way of succeeding at this resolve was, simply to define "depressions" out of existence. From that point on, America was to suffer no further depressions. For when the next sharp depression came along, in 1937–38, the economists simply refused to use the dread name, and came up with a new, much softer-sounding word: "recession." From that point on, we have been through quite a few recessions, but not a single depression.
If only actual problems could be caused that easily. In order to prevent the reality of a depression (or recession, if you prefer), they only need to do two things:
- Get out of the way
- Better define and enforce property rights
And if they came up with solutions that worked, people would understand how little we really need them.