After the Great Recession, in contrast, most central banks (the Bank of Japan being a notable exception) were content to prevent prices falling, and have not actively worked to make up lost output.
As a result, the recovery has been much weaker than in previous cycles, including the Depression, and monetary policy has taken longer to return to normal, leaving economies poorly prepared for the next recession.
Similarly, the Great Recession demonstrated the value of automatic fiscal stabilisers, but governments failed to seize the opportunity to link tax and benefits more closely to the business cycle.
Indeed, rules that have recently been adopted, such as Europe's fiscal compact, constrain rather than harness fiscal policy.
The Depression enabled radical change by discrediting untrammelled capitalism and the elites who supported it.
That had dangerous side-effects: it also empowered fanatical and dangerous political outsiders.
Though financial and political elites were not spared a populist backlash after the Great Recession, they have largely kept their seat at the table, blocking the enactment of bolder reforms.
The success of the response to the downturn helped avoid some of the disasters of the 1930s.
But it also left the fundamentals of the system that produced the crisis unchanged.
Ten years on, the hopes of radical reform are all but dashed.
The sad upshot is that the global economy may have the opportunity to relearn the lessons of the past rather sooner than hoped.