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Image description

The image is a representation of Dorothea Lange’s picture from 1936, California, representing a migrant mother, hugged by 2 small kids who are represented a little further from her so that you can better understand their bodies. The mother is also holding a baby in her arms.

Migrant Mother (also the name of the original photograph) is represented with a sad face, full of anxiety, pensively looking forward. Her face is wrinkled, her hair is short, caught in the back, she is dressed with cheap shabby clothes.

The woman is wearing a shirt represented in this tactile drawing with dotted texture. She is holding a baby in her left arm. The baby is wrapped up in a cloth represented with wavy texture.

The two bigger kids, the one on her left and the one on her right are holding her tight. They both have their heads tucked into her in the original image. Their clothes are also shabby, textured with oblique and paralel lines.

Historical information

Black Thursday – 24th of October 1929 represents the beginning of the great economic depression, which will affect the worldwide economy for 4 years and will cause major changes in economic rationale and practice (Keynesian economics) and will contribute to the rise of totalitarian regimes, such as Nazism in Germany. Greater Romania was mainly an agrarian society, which in the 1920s, had started a process of economic recovery after WW1. With a population of almost 18 million inhabitants in 1930 (the year of the first official census of Greater Romania), over 9 million people were occupied in agriculture, in family farms, working on lands received as a result of the great land reform in 1920-1921. Therefore, the economy of interwar Romania was highly dependent on the exports of agricultural products in the context of agricultural overpopulation and of low agricultural efficiency, caused by the fragmentation of farms. Economic analyses show a decrease in agricultural efficiency in grains and a positive efficiency in rye or potato, an insignificant share of the overall agricultural production. International comparisons show that Romanian agriculture was left behind even by agrarian societies, such as Bulgaria or Poland [Bibliography 1].

The effect of the economic crisis was the impact on international prices for main export products. Hence, in 1932, international prices for agricultural products were two fifths of the prices in 1929, so “peasants who owned small farms were buying fewer products” [Bibliography 2].  As a result, the industrial production of consumer goods dropped dramatically and the government was forced to turn to external loans and budget cuts to sustain the economy. The category the most affected by the three sacrifice curves were the teachers, as the Ministry of Public Instruction was the main employer in Romania. Ironically, the one who implemented the second “sacrifice curve” which enraged the teachers was Nicolae Iorga, the prime minister of 1931-1932’s government – “the national union government”.

The evolution of Romania’s budget speaks for itself: in 1931 – 40 billion lei, while in 1932 – around 25 billion lei [Bibliography 3]. Faced with this economical disaster, governments implemented austerity policies, massively cutting budget expenditures. Therefore, between January 1931 and January 1933 three “sacrifice curves” have been implemented, income cuts which led to massive reductions (one half) of the incomes of public service employees. For this reason, in January and February 1933, Romania was the place of many protests of workers, clerks and students, supporting the radicalization of Romanian political scene. The economic crisis emphasized the lack of medium and long term planning for social and economic development of Romania. After 1934, the state was “more engaged in stimulating the economic development”, increasing the share of budget expenditures to develop the economy and also to increase public orders for national weapons industry [Bibliography 4]. However, as a whole, the economic crisis of 1929-1933 proved the lack of economic development and the profound poverty of Romanian society.

Bibliography

  1. Bogdan Murgescu, România și Europa. Acumularea decalajelor economice 1500-2010, Iași, EdituraPolirom, 2010, p. 227-228.
  2. Keith Hitchins, România 1866-1947, IVth edition, București, Editura Humanitas, 2013, p. 409.
  3. Ioan Scurtu, Istoria românilor în timpul celor patru regi 1866-1947. Vol. III: Carol al II-lea, second edition, București, Editura Enciclopedică, 2004, p. 123.
  4. Bogdan Murgescu, România și Europa. Acumularea decalajelor economice 1500-2010, Iași, Editura Polirom, 2010, p. 270.

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