The article examines the evolution of GDP across 17 advanced economies and 15 developing countries during the Great Depression and the 2008 crisis. The 2008 crisis provoked less severe consequences for the real economy and highlighted an unprecedented resilience in developing and emerging economies. Two explanations are proposed. First, a massive increase of manufacturers’ exports from China and other Asian countries radically changed their disadvantaged role in world trade as suppliers of raw materials. Second, the 1997 East Asian crisis pushed many emerging economies to raise their foreign exchange reserves. From passive recipients of capital inflows, developing economies became active participants in global capital markets. The Age of Credit replaced the Age of Money, favouring the "excess elasticity" of a global financial system which can generate and spread the means of finance means worldwide, regardless of the real underlying resources backing them.
Keywords: Grande depressione, Crisi finanziarie, Politiche monetarie, Prezzi delle materie prime, Commercio mondiale