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July 8th, 2002

The Depression

Seventy years ago today, the Stock Market reached its lowest point during the Great Depression.

As a generation, we’ve been rather fortunate. We have definitely had times of great tragedy – such as September 11 and the continuing unrest in the Middle East – but we have yet to have another major depression. We’ve had recessions, and our economy hasn’t been the most stable, but that’s nothing.

And yet I find that I fear we might be entering another depression within a fair amount of time, here. I don’t know if it’ll be nearly as bad as the depression in the ’30s, but consider that unemployment is still high, the economy is fragile, and numerous companies are admitting their financial creativity. We’re constantly told that things are getting better: condos are being built everywhere in Chicago, for instance; cars are still being bought and sold; houses are still being bought.

So it probably wouldn’t be as severe, but the current state of things is unsettling. Job security feels like it’s a question mark for almost anyone, and a lot of companies that were the hottest thing in the ’90s are either gone or on their way out. Credit card debt continues to rise; people are still buying things, but many can’t afford them. And we’re constantly told that things are okay and things are getting better and things are improving.

What do you think? Do you sense that things are going to improve soon, stay the same, or get worse? I’m not looking to be a doomsayer here – I want things to get better – but it just feels as if something might slip at any moment.

Posted in Everyday Life

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