The difference between a depression and a recession;
Depressions happen in real markets with honest currencies. Prices deflate relative to the currency which causes a downward spiral of unemployment and asset devaluation. The currency remains stable, so the depreciation of other assets is more obvious.
Recessions are depressions in floating fiat systems. The currency is immediately devalued so the depreciation of assets is muted, money is printed up and floods the economy, interest rates are suppressed and government spending increases, masking the drop in GDP.
What you get in the first case are hard booms and busts. When the busts are over the bad debt is cleared and the economy can grow. In the second case, you get a muted, soft landing, and plenty to dull the pain.
The price to pay is an ever-increasing national debt that eventually implodes the entire system and threatens civilization itself.
From a blog comment. Rings true.