There are so many mutterings going around about how this present economic dive is going to resemble the Great Depression of the 1930s. I think those who say that kind of thing have not the faintest idea of what the Great Depression was like.
“Nor do you,” I hear you say. Well, I didn’t live through it, certainly – it had ended by the time I was born, courtesy of something far worse – but I grew up with the residual effects of depression and war. I had parents who knew all about what it was like to work and never be able to afford a day off – not one day in a year – and who never wasted a thing, because you could not afford to do so. (I hasten to say that many people in developing nations already know the equivalent of this – and have never known anything else).
So, until I see in western countries:
… people who will work 20 miles to save the bus fare;
…kids who will walk a couple of miles to school and home again every day as a matter of course;
…men darning socks, and women darning stockings – ok, panty hose – rather than buy a new pair;
…people growing their own food instead of flowers in their gardens or window boxes ;
… owners feeding their cats and dogs on nothing but scraps;
…folk squishing their old bits of soap together rather than buy a new cake;
… families never using shampoo or toothpaste because it is too expensive;
…someone scrubbing floors and bench tops and baths without commercial cleansers because they can’t afford them;
… a whole family using only one light at night to do homework, darning and whatever else around the same table;
…folk mending their own shoes and shirts and belts and cooking pots and roofs and chairs and anything else, rather than pay someone else or throw the broken thing out and buy another;
…people who NEVER eat out, not even at a fastfood joint, because they don’t have the money;
…people washing out their clothes every night (by hand of course) because they only have one good shirt/blouse/whatever to wear to work the next day;
…kids who never get given pocket money because all household money goes to important things like food;
… I could go on and on and on.
Until I see families – many of them – families wh0 have at least one employed member and yet still having to do all the things I have listed above, then I will know that yes, this is like the Great Depression.
That doesn’t mean that the coming times won’t be tough. Very tough on many. But it still won’t compare with the 1930s. Not yet, anyway. The equivalent of the Depression won’t come in the West until the world is at a standstill because of a total breakdown in the environment.
Depressed? Buy a book. They are still the cheapest form of entertainment.