lifted from comments by spencer on Mike Kimel’s post Very bad economic theory (historiography)
From Real Civilian GDP in July this year.
From 1933 to 1950 real civilian GDP grew at a 5.6% growth rate even though it fell -18.4% and -14.8% in
1943 and 1944 — a decline about the same as the drop in 1929-33.
The analysis that the economy boomed after WW II by Henderson is really bad analysis, largely because it omits so much information, some of which Mike has pointed out. But mainly it omits the information on “forced savings” during WW II that provided people the means to finance the post war increase in spending. To say the post war economy happened without government policy playing a significant role is just blatantly misleading and dishonest. Second, no one brought up the question of what happened to all the women who had been drawn into the labor force during WW II like by mother who was a Rosy the Riveter in the local aluminum plant in eastern Tennessee. Like most of her fellow female workers she silently went home and started having babies. In other words they dropped out of the labor force and this created openings for the returning servicemen. This movement in and out of the labor force of female wartime workers massively distorted the data but of course no is pointing this out in the analysis. That is why the labor force contracted in 1946. Note Henderson did not say anything about this.
Moreover, his analysis of Germany is just as blatantly misleading in that it says nothing about the Marshall Plan or the German currency reform. The German recovery did not really start until after the currency reform of 1948.