This study focuses on a Canadian article, The Great Depression in Canada written by Waterloo (Waterloo Region Record, 2013) which relates to a song from Quebec (linguee.com, 2017) that talks about the travails of Canadians during the Great Depression. The article indicates the results of the great depression that hit Canada to a very large extent in the 1930s (Waterloo Region Record, 2013). This article helps in explaining and expounding the song; La Bolduc-Cavavenir descouragez-vous Pas, a Quebec.
The songs focused on the impacts of this massive depression on the economy of Canada. As per the evidence from the above article it is evident that most people in this country were greatly affected by this situation. Most people suffered to a very great extent due to this crisis (MacGee, 2016). At that particular time the economy of Canada was dependent on trade as a major economic activity. They were also dealing in foreign trade with their crucial trade partners being the Americans. When America sought to increase the prices on their goods then the depression situation in Canada worsened to unimaginable extent making most of the people suffer. Most of the largest companies in Canada became bankrupt, with no money to pay their employees.
The transport industry in Canada was the one that was explicitly affected by this crisis since most of the vehicle companies especially those that exported goods collapsed leading to a downfall of almost 50% in the manufacturing industry. Moreover, most of people were affected by deprivation and drought that made them depend entirely on the government as well as the big non-governmental organizations that were ready to offer help (Wilson, 2005). Although people lives were at stake with most people suffering, there was no immediate government aids to help reduce the depression levels. In spite of all the suffering to the Canadians, the political situations and culture were still maintained showing that most people, though suffering, were ready to least maintain their political backgrounds and culture. More surprisingly no socialism or communism government systems came up. The levels of unemployment were also so high due to depression making the government seek some other ways to help the unemployed. One of the method used by the government was to set up relief camps to help the unemployed. This was quite a remedy to this puzzling situations. Some of the major consequences of the massive depression included the following: Inadequate commodities, unemployment problems, huge prices on products, increased levels of poverty, low standards of living as well as unfavorable economy. Just like Canada, the impacts of depression were devastating at a global level.
The Global Great depression.
This mayhem on the world economy started in the late 1920s, most probably 1929 and lasted for almost ten years. This was the largest, longest and most massive depression that had ever affected the industrialized world in the Western countries (Matziorinis, 2016). Though this crisis originally originated in the USA, it had a very great impact on almost the economy of every country in the world. The effects of this crisis were also on the culture and the social life of the people of the USA. This depression was ranked second in USA due to the civil wars and it was the worst in the history of America.
The time this depression occurred its degree was not quite similar in the different countries of the world. Depression affected the USA, Canada and the European countries for quite a long time. On the other hand, Japan and the Latin America experienced this depression for small periods and to smaller extents. There were several factors that steamed this depression and this included; reduced demand for goods, financial chaos and panics, unfavorable policies by the government and so many more. This led to a decline in the output especially in the USA (Uebele, 2015). The gold standard exchange rate that linked almost all the countries of the world played an important role in over sending the American downturn to almost all the countries in the world. Most of the nations were able to recover from this crisis when they decided to stop using the gold standard as the exchange currencies and implemented the use of monetary terms to transact businesses. Indeed, the great depression led to fundamental adjustments in most economic institutions, economic policies and economic theories.
The great depression in the United States began during summer in 1929. This situation worsened in the late 1929 and continued affecting the USA until 1933. The prices of goods and the output went down abruptly (Uebele, 2015). The industrial production fell by 45% and the Gross domestic product fell by 33%. The wholesale price index (WCP) fell by 36% indicating high deflation rates. Though, these statistics are thorough debated for their accuracy, it was accurately seen that the rate of unemployment was above 21%. These statistics when compared to that of another depression in Canada indicate that the above depression was the worst. Since in the early 1980s to 1982, the gross domestic product declined by 1.9% and the rate of unemployment was just under 9.9%. Additionally, during this period the prices on products continued to rise, though the price rate increase was quite slow. This situation is termed as disinflation.
The Great Britain was among the countries that struggled with low growth rate and high recession rates from 1925 to 1930 since it wanted to return to the gold standard exchange rate with a high valued pound. It should be noted though that Britain was not affected severely by this depression until in the 1930s. Even the decline in the industrial production was just almost 1/3 of what had occurred in the USA. France also experienced just a short and little downturn in early 1930s (Wilson, 2005). Their recovery from this crisis in the 1932 to 1933 was however for just a short period since the production and prices on goods fell in the year 1933 to 1936. The economy of Germany fell down in the early 1928, it stabilized and again fell in the late 1929. The decline in the industrial production was just the same as that of the United States. Various Latin countries were also affected by this situation in the late of the year 1928 and early 1929, just before the decline in the U.S output. Some less developed nations such as Argentina and Brazil experienced mild depressions while others were experiencing this depression to larger extents.
The price deflation in the USA was also evident in other countries. To be precise almost every industrialized nation experienced a decline of the wholesale prices of 31% or even more between the years 1929 and the year 1933. Since the Japanese pricing structure was quite flexible, the deflation experienced in the 1930 to 1931 was abnormally rapid (Waterloo Region Record, 2013). The prices on the basic commodities that were traded at that time also declined. For instance, between September of 1929 and December of 1930 the price on commodities such as silk, coffee, cotton, rubber was decreased by almost half the initial price. This led to a decline in the terms of trade abruptly for the producers of this products.
The recovery from this depression by the USA began in the spring 1933. The output by the industries grew rapidly by 1935. The gross domestic product rose by almost 9% rate between the year 1933 to 1937. The output had adversely fallen during the initial periods of this depression that it remained low for quite some periods (Wilson, 2005). In 1937 to 1938 the USA suffered yet another depression, which was well countered and the economy grew at a very high rate. In 1942 the output of the USA returned to the initial long-run level.
The recovery from this depression by the rest of the countries was quite different. The economy of Britain was stabilized just after they decided to abandon the gold standard in 1931 September, though the actually recovery began in the year 1932. Most of the countries in Latin America stabilized in the late 1931 and the early 1932. Japan and Germany started recovering in the year 1932 during fall (Waterloo Region Record, 2013). Canada and some other European countries revived at the same time just at the USA. Additionally, France, that had experienced late massive depressions started recovered late in 1938.
Causes of the great depression
One of the major causes of this depression in the USA was the reduced spending (aggregate demand), that led to reduced production as most of the merchandisers and manufacturers noted that there was a rise in the inventories. The sources of the reversible reduction in the size of spending in the USA was different over the different causes of depression, but all this led to a grand reduction in the aggregate demand (MacGee, 2016). The decline in America was over sent to almost all the other countries of the world. It should also be noted that some other factors also led to the depressions in different countries of the world.
The Interpretation of the Song in Relation to the Article
The lyrics of the song were based on the effects that the great depression had on the Canadians. The words of the songs were written to show how the country’s economy could affect the lives of people (linguee.com, 2017). It shows how depression affected the lives of people in Canada. Additionally, the song also shows the Canadian culture as well as the government’s role during that chaotic period. It also captures the different perspectives in the economy, perspectives of culture and also the social perspectives. This song was thus trying to show the socio-economic, the cultural and the political perspectives of the Canadian people at that time.
In paragraph one, there is a message of hope to all the people living in Canada. The words ‘My Friends’ as used by the singer depict a message of togetherness and shows that the writer knows and comprehends what everyone is experiencing. It also shows that the singer understands the puzzling situations the entire country is undergoing since he narrates that he knows the weather is hard indicating hardships (linguee.com, 2017). The singer also encourages the people not to give up. The singer then assures the entire public that these hardships should be left to the government that will help restore order in the chaotic economy. The singer narrates that the winter should be left to the new government giving an implication that that the government have the mandate of dealing with the challenges people are facing.
The song also tries to show the political settings in the government of Canada stating that, ‘the government comes and goes’ which shows that the government just serves for a given period. He author notes that they will complain in Montreal showing that they will not keep quite but will demonstrate if the government does not do something (Matziorinis, 2016). The above interpretations show that Canada has different social groups. The singer also states that the people in Canada are kindhearted but it is this situation that is making them complain. He says that they are not bad but the reason making them complain is because in the Quebec province they eat bread that is dry. This shows how the people are suffering from drought.
He sings that there is no work in Canada implying the high unemployment rates. He states further that though some states are stable, most of the parts are undergoing economic difficulties. The writer explains that everything is expensive indicating that there are high rates of inflation and the goods have high prices. He indicates that if a person need to survive then he has to borrow. It also shows the low standards of living of the people. This song is entirely about the consequences and impacts of the depression in Canada: inadequate jobs, low standard of living, high cost of living, and unaffordable prices on goods.
linguee.com. (2017). ?a va venir d?couragez-vous pas. Retrieved from www.linguee.com:
MacGee, P. S. (2016). Trade, Relative Prices, and the Canadian Great Depression. Vancouver, Canada.
Matziorinis, K. (2016). The Causes of the Great Depression: A Retrospective. Carlifonia: University of Carlifonia.
Uebele, T. A. (2015). The Global Impact of the Great Depression. London: London School of Economics and Political Science.
Waterloo Region Record. (2013, 3 28). The Great Depression hit Canada the hardest. Retrieved from www.therecord.com:
Wilson, S. J. (2005). Canadian Economic Development and Factor Movements before the Great Depression. University of Regina.