The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, originating in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until 1941. the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world’s economy can decline, as it was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century, it was a worldwide economic depression that lasted 10 years. Its kickoff was “Black Thursday,” October 24, 1929. That’s when traders sold 12.9 million shares of stock in one day, triple the usual amount. Over the next four days, stock prices fell 23 percent in the stock market crash of 1929. But the Great Depression really started in August when the economy contracted.What Caused The Great Depression?According to Ben Bernanke, the past chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank helped create the Depression. Bernanke highlighted the Fed’s five critical mistakes.The Fed began raising the fed funds rate in the spring of 1928. It kept increasing it through a recession that began August 1929. That’s what caused the stock market crash in October 1929.When the stock market crashed, investors turned to the currency markets. At that time, the gold standard supported the value of the dollars held by the U.S. government. The Fed raised interest rates again to preserve the dollar’s value. More bankruptcies followed.The Fed did not increase the supply of money to combat deflation.Investors withdrew all their deposits from banks. The failure of the banks created more panic. The Fed ignored the banks’ plight. This situation destroyed any of consumers’ remaining confidence in financial institutions. Topic # 2 / 3: “1978 – OPEC 1 / 1979 – OPEC 2″What is the ‘Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC’?The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group consisting of 12 of the world’s major oil-exporting nations. OPEC was founded in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members, and to provide member states with technical and economic aid. OPEC is a cartel that aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil on the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.OPEC MembershipAccording to its statutes, OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and that shares the ideals of the organization. Along with the five founding members, OPEC has 9 additional member countries, as of 2016. They are: Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Gabon and Angola.It is notable that some of the world’s largest oil producers, including Russia, China and the United States, are not members of OPEC and pursue their own objectives.Chronology of Prices (1978 & 1979)Following is a chronology of the major pricing decisions taken by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its individual members over the past three years that have led to the current wide range of OPEC prices. All prices are for 42-gallon barrels.Dec. 31, 1978: OPEC announces a four-stage price increase to lift the base price from $12.70 to $14.54 by Oct.1, 1979.February 1979: Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Libya and Kuwait raise their prices beyond the planned levels. OPEC members agree to apply immediately the $14.54 price that had not been due until Oct. Nigeria announces a $4 surcharge. OPEC votes to raise their minimum price to $18 and to allow a maximum of $23.50. Some free-market prices reach $40.Kuwait, Libya and Iran raise their prices beyond the planned maximum. OPEC meeting ends without an agreement on uniform prices, with members being allowed to set their own. Subsequent listed prices vary from Saudi Arabia’s $24 to Libya’s $30. In 1980 Saudi Arabia raises its prices to $28.OPEC sets a minimum price of $32 and a maximum price of $37. But Saudi Arabia refuses to budge from $28.Topic # 4 “FAILURE OF PENN SQUARE BANKS”What was a PENN SQUARE BANK?Penn Square Bank was a small commercial bank located in Oklahoma City, The bank was founded in 1960 and was located in the rear of the Penn Square Mall. It failed in July 1982. The bank made a large amount of poorly underwritten energy-related loans that it sold to other banks.Reason of Failure of Penn Square Bank:By the mid-’70s, the bank shifted from suburban housewives to focus on financing a new customer: the oil and gas industry. The bank grew by “aggressively making large and speculative loans” to the energy industry, according a historical account of bank crises by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.Oil prices peaked in April 1981 and started to fall.A year later, rumors of problems spooked a deposit runoff, and on July 5, 1982 Penn Square Bank was declared insolvent.The Penn Square Bank’s “abusive practices” were funded by banks, savings and loans and credit unions.Penn Square then sold majority interests in those loans to other banks (in the form of loan participations), but retained the responsibility for servicing the entire loan amount. At its failure, Penn Square was servicing approximately $2 billion in loans.