Monday, October 29, 2007
Depression Era Syndrome. You’ve probably met someone with this affliction. I’ve known several. They lived through the Great Depression and it left a permanent mark on them. They can’t throw anything away without trying to fix it first, they don’t waste anything and they never have enough money squirreled away “just in case.”
Today, October 29th, was “Black Tuesday” in 1929. After suffering a tremendous loss on “Black Thursday”, October 24, and then enjoying a slight recovery -- the bottom fell out of the stock market on Tuesday. The market didn’t regain the ground it lost for 25 years -- until 1954.
People now will talk endlessly about who was to blame for the Great Depression. For years and years in was considered that unregulated speculation caused the stock market crash which led to the Great Depression. Economist Milton Friedman rewrote the history books (for some) and blamed the government’s response to the stock market crash for causing the Great Depression.
I feel strongly about much of this period in our history and will argue endlessly with the best of them. We talk as if our arguments or economic policies or history are important. Somehow, the thing that is most important gets lost in the arguments. The People.
Florence Thompson didn’t care about which economist was right or which was wrong. She didn’t care about history. She couldn’t afford to care. She just wanted to feed her kids. She was 32 years old in this picture and she had 7 kids depending on her.
Hunger has a way of focusing the mind on what is truly important. And evidently, it will leave a mark on a person that will last a lifetime.
If you know someone with DES try to be tolerant and understanding. They know something that -- fortunately -- you and I don’t know. Let’s hope we never do.
October 29, 2007