Don Boudreaux reminds people to ignore the pessimism coming from "progressive" circles — those who would take the mildest economic downturn and use it to justify more government intervention in the economy (intervention that is largely responsible for boom/bust cycles). Boudreaux suggests folks read Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter which every thinking person should use to temper the "Pessimistic bias" one of five major biases that plague non-economists and poor Naomi Klein. Here’s a slice:
"Russ [Roberts] and myself (because we’re economists?) and many of the commentors here at the Cafe are not pessimistic about the long-run. Problems come; problems are solved. Inability to see the details of the future scare many people; this inability doesn’t scare me. As long as individuals have a sufficient quantum of freedom, their self-interest and creativity and inevitable competition will "solve" almost any problem over the long-haul. It’s a pattern repeated countless times over the past two-hundred years in capitalist countries. (Please, please don’t trot out the Great Depression as a counter-example. First, it was clearly worsened by the Federal Reserve’s catastrophically bad monetary policy, and by the worldwide spread of protectionism — helped along by the Smoot-Hawley tariff. More importantly, there’s compelling evidence that the risks of full-throttle socialization of the economy were then real enough to scare investors away until the mid-1940s. And even this greatest of all of America’s depressions lasted only ten or fifteen years, depending on how you define the end of the Depression.)"
I’ve pointed to a lot of bad editorializing recently (from the N&O in particular) and would recommend Cafe Hayek as a daily dose and The Myth of the Rational Voter as an antidote to these horrible rehashings of your junior high textbook on the Depression and progressive-era thinking. Been there, done that.