4/14/2008

Economic Hypochondriacs Unite

Forget recession, bring on the depression, and make it a great one! I think there is a disconnect between the generation of Americans that made this one of the most influential in modern history and those that drive contemporary, mainstream opinion. Widespread diffusion of responsibly, spill over of the great society, and instant everything have changed the makeup of America’s character and I find it to be tragic. The greatest generation of Americans was born from one of the worst economic periods of our history, considering current sentiment, I welcome the forecasted economic downturn.

12 comments:

Rearden said...

I agree; recessions are not without some benefits. They tend to correct inflated prices, weed out weak business, and as you suggested -bring a sense of humility and appreciation for what we do have. Depressions on the other hand often hurt the very people who need to be humbled the least. The grinding poverty that our great grand parents lived through during the great depression left many with scares that remained with them their entire lives, and as a result of that depression we have more government dependency programs than ever before, e.g. social security, government welfare, FDR’s expansionary government spending programs, etc. Did the depression reduce accountability or create it? When you look at poverty in all its "glory", you will find there is nothing glorious about it at all.

John said...

There is a negative externality that would happen from a depression. There are a bunch of people who have become dependent upon the government programs that Rearden mentioned (welfare), the problem is that there are those lazy individuals that have decided to use the government's safety net as a hammock. Going through another depression will only encourage those napping in the hammock to shut off the alarm clock and continue to snooze through life as well as introduce a new generation to the glories of “money for nothing”.

Austin said...

While I agree with the sentiment of this post, I question whether we as a country have the resources to survive another "Great Depression". I am by no means a student of that era, but it seems to me that we survived and overcame that event by the government borrowing a bunch of money and dumping it into the economy through all of the government assistance programs. Ultimately even through financing of World War II. As is becoming increasingly obvious, in todays world, the credit of the American government is rapidly deteriorating. This is why I believe that the single greatest thing we as a society could do to secure long-term prosperity is to bring spending under control, balance the national budget, and pay off the national debt. Let's reload the gun for crying out loud!!

Dr. Tufte said...

-2 on Olivia for multiple grammatical errors. -1 on Rearden too.

Yikes Olivia - you sound like a Puritan.

As to the greatest generation, I get annoyed with generations that name themselves after retrospection shows they did OK.

Trinity said...

I think it is quite possible to teach and learn the positive attributes of the "Great Depression Generation" without having to live through one. My point is mainly ethical/social and not so much economic. Sorry Tufte (you can't dock me points anymore, ha!)

Dr. Tufte said...

I agree completely. I think it's really flippant to say that anyone needs or deserves something bad to happen to them.

Economically, we are very fortunate to have recovered from the 1930's as well as we did. A good chunk of the the world feels that the 30's knocked them off the top of the mountain.

angelin said...

It's a direct result of a centralised top-down approach that is the effect of government control. Essentially money and patronage flow down from government so the management system is set up to do whatever it takes to satisfy the beast. Contrast with enterprises where it's the customers that call the shots ---happen in public ownership.
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Angelinjones
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Dr. Tufte said...

Agreed. We need to do all we can to emphasize for people how unimportant top-down centralized decision-making is for most of their life.

Sir Max Higgins said...

Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans


More info: http://mrhigginsbank.blogspot.com/

Liam said...

I wouldn't say inviting a recession would shake up the American moral fiber. Societies don't learn lessons from times of hardships, we just simply discover ways of coping through sheer desperation. Any lessons learned will be gone with the mortal beings who survived, or at worst spearheaded, the time of pain. This may turn out to be an inquisition of sorts.

Dr. Tufte said...

Agreed.

I think a lot of talk about how much the "depression generation" learned came from ... the depression generation itself.

Victoria said...

I agree with Trinity. We can learn positive attributes of the "Great Depression Generation" and if we experienceed Great Depression, we could learn more about it.