NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What is the difference between a recession and a depression?

Saul Eslake at Club Troppo:

"One day last week I came into the office to find an email from my boss time-stamped 2:46am (and no, he wasn’t in another time-zone) asking ‘what, technically, is a depression’. What follows is a slightly expanded version of my answer.

There is a very old joke which says “a recession is when your neighbour loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours” . This plays to the widely accepted contemporary belief that a depression is simply a particularly severe recession. A quick trawl through cyberspace (which can be done readily by googling ‘difference between recession and depression’) throws up two criteria for distinguishing a ‘depression’ from a ‘recession’ – a ‘depression’ is either a decline in real GDP of more than 10%, or a contraction in real GDP which lasts more than three, or four, years."

The full thing's here.

And here is the Great Depression explained.  The entire encylopedia is good too.

And Wikipedia's account of The Global financial crisis of 2008