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Great Depression

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During the late 1920s the U.S. economy experienced rapid growth. As a result, when the economic decline of 1929 occurred, it was originally seen as part of an economic boom-bust-boom cycle. However, productivity continued to tailspin unexpectedly for three and a half years, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs and bankruptcies in countless businesses. One person who experienced the Great Depression said "It was a time of utter chaos, in which there were no road signs. The moral and social guideposts had been wiped out." In order to get by during the Great Depression our government and the majority of society were forced to make several unethical decisions. Some may argue the point that one cannot consider ethics due to the horrid conditions people had to live through in the times of the Great Depression. Although their point may very well be true, this is irrelevant. What is being proven is not the stipulation on when you can or cannot consider ethics. It is if the actions of the government and society were or were not acceptable by the concept of ethics; that of which their actions were not.

The government made decisions that were not ethically intact. The first incident was when ex-soldiers were petitioning in Washington. The ex-soldiers were petitioning to receive their bonuses ahead of time due to the depression. When President Hoover declined because of economic problems, the veterans kept pleading, yet they still did not act in a hostile matter. After a few days Hoover grew tired of the protesters and ordered the police chief to remove them. However the police chief refused because he agreed with the veterans. Furthermore he thought it would be unpatriotic to fight against the people who fought for America. A marine commander was asked too, but he refused as well for the same reasons. Finally the one they did get to shove these courageous freedom fighters out of Washington was General MacArthur. According to Jim Sheridan, "They were given orders to move out of Anacostia Flats, and they refused... The soldiers threw tear gas at them and vomiting gas. It was one assignment they reluctantly took on. They were younger than the marchers. It was like sons attacking their fathers." Instead of coming up with a peaceful solution, these ex-soldiers were violently forced out of Washington after merely asking for the bonuses that had been promised to them. This was a terribly dishonorable action against our veteran soldiers by the government. Another unethical action the government committed was the slaughtering of piggy sow. The government did this because they thought if they had the farmers kill the pregnant pigs, the price of pigs would increase. In doing so this would theoretically help the farmers in debt because they would be making more money due to the shift in the supply curve. However, the price of pigs became too high and people could not afford them, so the plan backfired. In the words of C. B. Baldwin, "This is one of the horrible contradictions we're still seeing." This is wrong because it is the government's job to protect Americans, and due to their lack of forethought this plan ended up hurting more people than it protected.

American society is even guiltier than the government in the allegation of committing unethical actions during the Depression.



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