The Progressive Era (1890s to the 1920s)
The Progressives reshaped the economy as we know it. It never came into fruition by chance. It is a product of a series of both successes and failures of the past. Their Era had an overreaching grasp of the many social topics of their time that ranged from cartels, war, collectivism, regulation, income taxes, family issues, Prohibition to Federal Reserve. Cartels had become rampant and the effects had spilled worldwide.
It is the cartels that undoubtedly made it worst (though short sighted thoughts would argue otherwise). Decisions were somewhat made from the influence of the lobbyist that came from the elite interests of those who belonged to the ambit of Morgan's, Rockefeller's and their likes. The Federal Reserve is just one but perhaps the biggest among their creations, that enabled the acceleration of credit formation and inflation. The current trillion dollar debt says it all.
Cartels are doomed to fail. Internal and external factors of greed and competition can not sustain its eternal existence. Its temporary assumption of success is in fact just a delay of its impending failure. A hidden coercive force called government intervention through enforcement by law, is just another kick in the can - distancing the present day situation from the brewing madness of recession. Thereby, forging a temporary illusion of accomplishment, where in fact the inescapable truth is yet certain to arrive.
Read: The Progressive Era by Murray N. Rothbard