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Additional info for Access to History for the IB Diploma. The Great Depression and the Americas 1929-39
Ideally, they sought guaranteed prices, with the state possibly selling their surplus abroad for whatever price it could get. American farmers produced so much that there were surpluses despite the rising population. However, prices had fallen to below those of 1914. Farmers considered the 1914 price to be the ‘parity’ price, by which they meant the price that enabled them to break even on the costs of production. President Coolidge did little to relieve farmers from their distress. More and more farmers saw their mortgages foreclosed and lost the land their families had farmed for generations.
Different sections of society were better off than others. Many women, for example, did not share in the prosperity of the 1920s, nor did ethnic groups such as Native Americans and AfricanAmericans. Distribution of income Income was distributed very unevenly throughout the country. The northeast and far west enjoyed the highest per capita incomes; in 1929 these were $921 and $881, respectively. In comparison, the figure for the southeast was $365. To paint an even gloomier picture, within the region of the south-east, in South Carolina, while the per capita income for the nonagricultural sectors of the economy averaged $412, that of farmers was only $129.
This situation became even more confused through the Dawes and Young Plans scaling down German reparations. With Germany paying the European victors less, this meant that they in turn could repay less of their own debts to the USA. All in all, no one gained from an incredibly complex situation that, according to one commentator, would have made more sense if ‘the US had taken the money out of one Treasury building and put it in another’. The banks hoped the movement of American funds to Europe would help the victors to repay the loans.