If we have another Great Depression, how might it differ from the last one

I have been waiting for life to switch to black and white but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Assuming we have a another world wide depression, what are some of the ways it might differ from the one that happened in the 1930’s?

Some obvious changes over the last 70-80 years.

  1. New-clear weapons.
  2. Innovations and infrastructure. Internet, satellites, medical advances, roads, bridges, railroads, agricultural advances (see 4).
  3. Global financial/commercial/military interdependency.
  4. Environmental degradation. The catfish that people survived on around here during the last depression are now loaded with atrazine (see 2).
  5. Increased population.

What other differences are there, and how will the changes that have taken place since 1929 affect our options and likely actions, collectively and as individuals?

  1. The internet. Job searching sucks. But, you don’t have to walk from place to place to look for work as you would have in 1929. Job seekers and employers can get together quickly.

Also, the flow of news. If there are jobs in one city, then people in another city can find out quickly…

If times get real tough it seems that the ability of the net to connect buyers and sellers could lead many people and businesses in middle-man positions to be cut out of the commercial loop. Saving a few bucks by ordering online will be more important the more peoples’ wallets are getting squeezed. This will also shrink sales tax revenue.

Technology would be both a help and a hindrance. Some of the benefits are listed above.

Some of the downside is that systems are so complicated now that you can’t fix things yourself. Especially automotive.

Also people have forgotten how to do some simple daily things. How to field dress a deer (or a moose!:D), how to can the things you grew in your garden, how to build a simple and durable shelter.

Keep in mind that during the great depression the world didn’t stop. Most people kept their jobs, went out to dinner, saw sporting events, etc.

Skyscraper windows can’t be opened from the inside anymore.

Um, what? :confused:

I think that all the infrastructure and fixed assets: roads, airports, transportation, buildings, equipment land etc. puts us in a position that there is enormous wealth in place, that can’t be taken out of place that wasn’t around in 29 and can be put to use that a depression, which is likely, is not going to be as bad. Also, there is a political willingness to put things to use right away and not wait around. :diamonds:

My question: Did the general public see the last one coming?

The music won’t be as good.

You know, with the mushroom clouds and mutually assured destruction and all.

No more “Hoover steaks”, no more scavenging. Yesteryears hoboes are today’s homeless, and we’re sick of them - adding a few million more (say ANOTHER 5% of the workforce - how many was that in 1932 (when it really tanked)? How many would that be today?) is really going to stretch compassion. Baby boomers (yep, I’m one) have run up prices astronomically - we now pay as much for cars as our parents paid for houses - there is a LOT of excess money running around, and, unfortunately, we now NEED it - wringing it out will hurt, but maybe we’re going to see the ENTIRE boomer bubble burst.
I’ve predicted a major collaspe of housing as the boomers die off - I suspect we will see suburbs discovering they have no reason to exist. Several “luxury golf course”-type developments in the CA central valley have gone belly-up entirely, and out-lying McMansions are already going begging - see:

How many can we fit in (now surplus) airport terminals? Too bad modern subways have been deisgned to discourage loitering - we’re going to need shelter…

No Smoot-Hawley Act, hopefully, and Tariff Walls which did more to prolong the Depression than almost anything else.

Well, for starters, I’ll be selling apples and cherries at prices my 1930’s counterparts could only dream of. I’ve slashed prices on my entire inventory. Look for me on the corner of Lake Ave and 3rd Street, just past the man eating his own children.

Luckily there won’t be a dust bowl to accompany the next Depression.

Depression-era music was fantastic (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack), but as always, as it always has been through the ages, there will always be good music. It’ll be good in a different way, but of course most people won’t hear most of it.

You haven’t seen my apartment.

The politicians won’t let it be called Depression. It will be called something like The Great Cyclical Downturn.

laugh At least it’s contained.

People already mentioned the Smoot-Hawley Act. We’re a much more globalized economy these days.

No dustbowl. We are not nearly as agrarian a society as we were in the 30s. No masses of migrating people wandering the countryside.

No gold standard. According to Wikipedia, “the earliness with which a country left the gold standard reliably predicted its economic recovery”.

What’s wrong with using all the surplus housing that was created? There’s not a shortage of residential buildings.

no dust bowl was my first thought. my second was… ooops global warming! humans are still trying to bend nature to human will.

yes, farming has come a long way from the “dirty thirties”. unfortunatly the west is using way more water than they did 70 odd years ago, and the aquafers are going down.

the history channel has a documentary called “black blizzard” about the dust bowl. the author of “the worst hard time” does quite a bit of the narration as well as interviews of dust bowl survivors.

Though I’m sure it’s been suggested in hushed whispers, I think nuking Wall Street at this time would be a strategic mistake.