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Surviving the Great Depression...

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[1] The Great Depression was a prolonged depression from the 1930s until the early 1940s, with unemployment levels of up to 25%, with an above-average number of bank and business failures.

One of the causes of the crash was the Federal Reserve’s monetary inflation policies (increasing the money supply leading to a decrease in interest rates for loans) during the roaring 1920s that resulted in a speculative boom. This boom ended in a bust once the FED raised its discount rate from 3.5% in January of 1928 to 6% in August 1929 to shrink the money supply. Anti-capitalist economists and historians claim the Stock Market Crash of 1929 (29 October 1929) was the trigger of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Yet, during the period surrounding the stock market crash of 1929, unemployment peaked at 9 percent and then drifted downwards until it reached 6.3% in June 1930. There was only a relatively mild recession in terms of unemployment for the first six months after the crash, as in previous market crashes? What turned this particular recession into a lengthy depression, where the Dow would not regain its pre-crash highs until a quarter of a century later?

Observe that in the 1920 and 1987 Stock Market crashes, there was no Great Depression, but minor recessions, because there was no Great Intervention. The Recession of 1929/1930 became prolonged by the government’s “great intervention” that prevented the market from restoring normalcy. Far from putting an end to the Great Depression, in the U.S., the depression became worse thanks to the combined efforts of Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (elected 1932) and their interventionist policies into the economy, i.e., FDR’s New Deal.

Hmmm... makes me think of the Green New Deal. The Smooth Hawley Tariff Act on imported goods, signed into law by Herbert Hoover reduced international trade, causing a drastic reduction in revenues from U.S. exports (because of exports are paid for with imports) along with retaliatory tariffs.

The New Deal was an attempt by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to use the crisis surrounding the recession following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 as an excuse to intervene in the economy. Interventions of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” included: National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) which controlled industrial prices and wages; Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) to control agricultural prices and output (paying farmers not to produce); National Labor Relations Act (1935) to control wage prices by forcing employers to negotiate with government empowered unions; Glass-Steagall Act which created the FDIC, to federally insure bank deposits; and many others.

Roosevelt also made thousands of executive orders, which created further uncertainty and disruption of the economy. Uncertainty led to people to hold onto their money (“hoarding”) as opposed to investing it as they were waiting to see what the government would do next.

Did World War II end the Great Depression and help the economy? What World War II did end were many of the regulations that crippled the economy. Wars, though sometimes necessary, are negative on an economy as capital that allocated to productive uses is used for funding a war (destruction). [1]

[2] These were the Fed's critical mistakes. The Fed began raising the fed funds rate in the spring of 1928. It kept increasing it through a recession that started in August 1929. When the stock market crashed, investors turned to the currency markets. At that time, the gold standard supported the value of the dollars held by the U.S. government.

Speculators began trading in their dollars for gold in September 1931. That created a run on the dollar. The Fed raised interest rates again to preserve the dollar's value. That further restricted the availability of money for businesses. More bankruptcies followed. The Fed did not increase the supply of money to combat deflation. Investors withdrew all their deposits from banks. The failure of the banks created more panic. The Fed ignored the banks' plight.

This situation destroyed any of consumers’ remaining confidence in financial institutions. Most people withdrew their cash and put it under their mattresses. That further decreased the money supply. The Fed did not put enough money in circulation to get the economy going again. Instead, the Fed allowed the total supply of U.S. dollars to fall by a third. [2]

[3] The Great Depression brought the prosperous American empire to its knees. Money and industry dried up almost overnight, along with the nation’s food resources. It was the worst of times to be an American. In reality, the probability of a similar economic disaster shaking this nation again is not as low as you might imagine.

Sure, there are new checks and balances – “safety valves” to ensure that the US stock market can’t crash as fast. But even as recently as 2008, America’s economy was badly shaken and sank once again via The Great Rescission. But the truth of the matter is Wall Street and big banks never actually learn the lessons of the past. And with Fed holding interest rates at 0% - 0.25%, the government’s bag of tricks is running on empty.

The next economic fall could match or exceed that of The Great Depression. History often repeats itself, and the best way to avoid past suffering is to learn from the mistakes of our forbearers – and try to prepare ourselves for harder times yet to come. As Edmond Burke once famously quoted, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

Some important lessons to survive the Great Depression are: “Job Security” Is A Dangerous Myth The stock market is just a numerical representation of reality. When it crashes, it’s the underlying businesses that make up the stock exchange that struggle to perform. And once a crash starts, it’s difficult to stop. When fear turns into all-out panic people, stop spending, which leads to lower business profits, which pushes stock prices even lower, which then leads to even less spending.

Economic depression is a vicious cycle, where businesses are not selling their inventories because people are not buying. All businesses will immediately start downsizing their staff of employees to help offset their future drop in revenues. The weaker businesses will find that massive layoffs are not enough. They can’t keep the doors open, and everyone who worked for them is out of a job.

This downward cycle ushered in the era of The Great Depression. Unemployment rates skyrocketed. The unemployed masses spent their remaining savings on only the bare essentials (i.e., food, rent) until even those dollars ran out. After that, many were left with shanty towns and food lines as their only remaining options. So even if you think your job is secure, are you 100% certain?

Let’s imagine that your company does survive but to do so must layoff a few employees from each department. How can you be certain you won’t be among those few? If you’re a relatively young employee, you might be let go because hey “you’ll land on your feet”. If you’re a more seasoned employee, cutting your salary will make a bigger difference to a struggling business’s bottom line. You can’t assume how these things will shake out… In stable times, people like to talk about their “job security”.

They fool themselves into believing that their job or their industry can weather any storm. It’s a suckers bet. Instead, you should assume that you could lose your job in an instant and live, plan and prepare accordingly.

Next, Self-Defense Matters in Tough Times- As times got tougher, people got more desperate. People who could not afford to feed themselves or their families forced to more extreme means of providing or risk starvation. Organized crime took off like a rocket ship. The mobs in New York and California became some of the wealthiest organizations in the country because of their control of the liquor smuggling operations.

Desperate times call for desperate measures to survive The Great Depression. A father or mother with starving children will abandon their morals and steal from others. You should assume your resources will come under attack. Especially if you’ve stockpiled food, vital supplies, and resources others want. Get prepared to protect what’s yours.

Diversify Your Skill Set - Many of the previous well-off families were forced into lives of extreme poverty. As the cushy jobs vanished and monetary assets tanked, people who had no real useful skills suffered the most.

Previously wealthy parents, watched in horror as their children died of starvation or illnesses they could not afford to fight off. Mothers and fathers died by sacrificing their own needs for their children. Leaving their children alone, to fend for themselves. When times get tough, you’ll need to figure out how to scratch out a living. Learn how to provide an essential service to others and trade or barter for it.

Figure out how to secure critical resources and turn those into necessary goods or services. It’s best if you acquire those self-reliant survival skills today. If you wait, it may be too late.

You Must Stay Mentally Prepared - Brothers and sisters, lovers and friends were subject to extreme suffering and (as the name of the era implies) depression. Many folks were simply not equipped to handle the cultural shift from prosperity to poverty – or chose not to – and opted to take their own lives. If you want to be a rock in a sea of misery, you need to sharpen your mind.

The best way to do this is through the philosophy of Stoicism. One aspect of Stoicism promotes the practice of self-deprivation during good times to mentally prepare you for bad times. One such example is fasting for a week. To experience the sensation of extreme hunger and understand that while uncomfortable in the short term, it’s survivable.

A second example would be to sleep for a week on a cold hard floor and not in a soft, comfortable bed. This practice will help strengthen your resolve and spirit should that ever become your actual reality. Not only will this practice give you more appreciation for the good things you have in your life today, but also provide mental preparations when life’s circumstances take a turn for the worst.

You Need Strong Family Bonds - Marriage rates early on in the Great Depression plummeted mostly because single men could not afford to support themselves, let alone a family. So, proposals dried up and became something of a rarity from 1929 to 1934. Surprisingly, divorce rates throughout the era decreased! However, this has been attributed to spousal abandonment.

Men did not have the means to legally leave their wives. So, while formal divorce rates were low, abandonment rates during the Great Depression were at an all-time high. The Great Depression brought about a lot of “poor man’s divorces”, and a surplus of single ladies. If you want to stay with your spouse through such trying times, then focus on strengthening your bonds of love, trust, and communication today.

Honest Work Can Be Hard to Find - Single or abandoned women experience especially hard times. Being a woman in that era made it harder to get work. And if work could be found they rarely got paid a decent wage. Making women exponentially more vulnerable to moral compromises. Which lead to rising rates of prostitution across the US.

Many women who could not find honest work turned to “the oldest profession in history.” It was a desperate means for surviving The Great Depression. Again, having some active and useful skills can help to avoid the toughest of compromises. Sewing, gardening, seed saving, farming, butchering, etc. These are just a few of the many self-reliance skills that can help offset costs and maybe even turn a small profit.

Vices Were in High Demand - Rates of alcoholism escalated despite the prohibition laws that were enforced in the US at this time. Most of the available booze was either expensive imports, diluted imports, or homebrewed hooch. All of which have their shortcomings and most of which were controlled by the mob, or independent bootleggers.

Neither of whom was good folks to owe money to. And amazingly, regardless of all that, the number of alcoholic Americans rose steadily throughout the Depression. When times are tough a lot of people peer down the bottom of a bottle looking for answers. So, if you happen to have a stockpile of these highly desirable vices you can sell or trade them at a nice profit to help keep your loved ones safe.

Stretching Your Dollars - Many Americans switched from more expensive cigars to smoking cigarettes, which were significantly cheaper. Not that one or the other is better for you, but it proves an interesting trend. In trying times, people make certain compromises. They can no longer afford luxury for luxury’s sake. Instead, they downgraded to cheaper options while surviving The Great Depression, in an attempt to stretch what little was left.

Learning how to effectively stretch your dollars today can help prepare for you tough times ahead. Eliminating unnecessary food and energy waste. Limiting the number of miles, you drive your car. Bottom line: Living an efficient life. All these ideas will help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars today and make them last longer tomorrow.

Diets and Health Suffered -

Obviously, preventative health care was not high on anyone’s priority list, so the general health of the American population, from 1930 to 1933 suffered greatly. No one bothered going to the doctor unless it was a serious emergency. Doctors cost money, as does medicine and dental work. Instead, money was allocated to short-term essentials such as food, rent, and clothes – the important stuff.

While I'm not advocating skipping doctor or dentist visits, you can help keep visit costs low with good personal hygiene. Keep a well-supplied and updated medical kit in your home at all times. Continue regular dental hygiene and eat a balanced diet. These actions will help keep your immune system in good working order. Plan on stockpiling essential health-related supplies (like survival antibiotics) and then smartly rationing them during hard times.

Mass Migration Was Common - Mass migration physically rearranged and shuffled the demographics of America like a professional blackjack dealer. The Great Depression was an era of movement and vagrancy, a time where jobs were sought out by adventurers who train hopped from one town to the next, or walked the roads and hitchhiked when they could.

Caravan loads of migrants moved westward, from the east towards a new life in California. John Steinbeck described the migrations impeccably well in his 1939 novel Grapes of Wrath: “And then the dispossessed were drawn west – from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand.

They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless – restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do – to lift, to push, to pick, to cut – anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land.” When local prospects are nil, you must move to survive. If you would prefer to avoid such a fate, then focus on your family’s self-reliance. If you can thrive where you are, then you’ll have no reason to join the masses.

Creative Art Is a Silver Lining - People went to more movies during the Great Depression. Americans went to at least one movie a week on average (often, more). It was a way to escape from the sad realities of life during the Great Depression for an hour or two. It was a chance to laugh with other people, get excited, frightened, angry or sad with a crowd of strangers and friends – cinema during the Depression was a flickering, dancing light in a very dark corner of time. There were a lot of classic films that came out of the Depression.

Movies like Frankenstein, It Happened One Night, Gone with The Wind, King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, and Dracula. There were also a lot of great works of literary art as a result of the Depression. John Steinbeck wrote some classic novels about the Depression and the Dust Bowl, like Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and The Grapes of Wrath. Some of the most impactful photography came from this era as well, like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, John Vachon, Russel Lee, and Gordon Parks are among some of the most recognizable Great Depression photographers.

However, symphonic music, which was in high fashion throughout the ’20s, suffered severely from the depression. Paying for symphony tickets was largely out of the question, getting dressed up was a superfluous endeavor, and besides all of that, advancements in Radio Tech meant that most music lovers could get different stations right in their living room. The one positive product of tragic events, intense situations, and weird history like that of surviving The Great Depression is the art that it invariably bears. War, natural disaster, economic meltdown, famine, genocide, and anything else so gruesomely depraved will always inspire the creative soul.

Self-Reliance Is Key -

The biggest hurdle of the Great Depression was a simple one: lives changed drastically – and they changed fast. Americans went from the lavish roaring twenties, where elegance and jazzy splendor perfused the nation, to scrubbing out a meager existence.

Those who survived it were never the same. They stockpiled more. They reused more and shopped for bargains, not luxuries. They fully understood that a trip to the grocery store may be the last for a very long time. That’s the biggest lesson learned from surviving the Great Depression: Self-Reliance skills are essential to get you through the harsh times. The survival skills that our modern world has since lost. [3]

[4] Here are some more ideas to survive an incoming financial crisis: Bartering – if you didn’t have it and need it, then you’d barter. Not buying anything with credit – only buy something you could pay cash for now.

None of the instant gratification you see today. Home grown foods – the only thing they went to town for were for sugar and flour. Everything else was produced organically on the farm. Preserve food – the food that was produced or bought was preserved and treasured. Folks would work diligently to can food and have plenty on hand in the cellar to survive long periods of time.

Helping neighbors – there was a day when helping your neighbor was a common thing. Anymore, people live isolated lives and are only concerned about themselves and their needs. Reach out to your neighbors and connect as a community. During the depression families would help each other with harvest, repair work, or give each other food.

Multiple sources of income – people who made it through the depression realized that having only one source of income is risky. By having multiple avenues in which to generate income it would protect themselves from economic downturns and spread out their risk tolerance. Look at home you can earn a few extra dollars whether it be a repairman, painter, lawn mowing, or even babysitting. [4]

[5] However, we are not actually in a Great Depression. The lockdowns and other sickness-blamed policies have encouraged the US government and Federal Reserve to increase debt. Increasing debt and decreasing production is not good for the USA dollar.

Having less goods and services produced is bad for the economy of the USA. As some of us have been writing for much of the past year, this is not the way to deal with the sickness and it is causing damage and more of the same is risking making matters much worse. We are seeing more and more inflation, and that is not a good thing. Isaiah 1:25 - And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.

The increasing of debt and certain other sickness policies have not been good for the USA–nor the rest of the world. The novel crowned sickness is wreaking havoc around the world. Many states of the USA as well as countries in Europe are on lockdown with shelter in place /shelter in residence requirements. In France, a form is required when you are not at your house. In Spain, drones are being used to warn people who are outside to go back to their homes–does that bring up feelings of ‘Big Brother’?

Italy, France, and other areas are using police and/or military force to encourage people to stay inside. According to the Bible could this be the end? If not, what has to happen first? Have the second and third of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse started their ride? Could the sickness be the fourth horseman? Why or why not? Could we be seeing The End of the World as We Know It just like the predictive programming song from R.E.M.’s 1987 single song discussed? Do Christians need to fear?

Because of the sickness, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the crowned sickness on US currency bills. Is the sickness worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society?

If the thousands of deaths associated the sickness and the so-called-cure are pushing parts of the world towards cash lessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 in Revelation 13:16-18. Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before the ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6?

The theme of the world economic forum's 2021 meeting was the "great reset." What is the great reset that Klaus Schwab wrote about in his June 2020 book, 'The World Sickness: the great reset'? World leaders such as Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Prince Charles, and Pope Francis have pushed for it. But leaders such as Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Vladimir Putin, and Jason Kenny have opposed it. Is it a conspiracy? Could the freemasons, Vatican, and world council of churches be endorsing it? Is a great reset prophesied in the Bible? Should you support the humanitarian reset world leaders and academics are pushing? [5]

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