Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 102, May 8

We're doing another bit of time traveling, going back to the Roaring Twenties this time.  During the economic boom of the Roaring Twenties, the traditional values of rural America were challenged by the Jazz Age, symbolized by women smoking, drinking, and wearing short skirts.  With more and more people leaving family farms to work in cities, families took a hit, along with the agriculture society that had been the backbone of America from its inception.

The average American was busy buying automobiles and household appliances, and speculating in the stock market, where big money could be made. Those appliances were bought on credit, however. Although businesses had made huge gains — 65 percent — from the mechanization of manufacturing, the average worker’s wages had only increased eight percent.  (Once again, does this sound familiar?)

The imbalance between the rich and the poor, with 0.1 percent of society earning the same total income as 42 percent, combined with production of more and more goods and rising personal debt, could not be sustained. On Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed, triggering the Great Depression, the worst economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world. It spread from the United States to the rest of the world, lasting from the end of 1929 until the early 1940s. With banks failing and businesses closing, more than 15 million Americans (one-quarter of the workforce) became unemployed.

1 comment:

  1. I know we've taken precautions to guard against another crash of the market, but individuals still need to take precautions against a personal financial crash. And I don't think they are.