By Fabian Ommar
During times like these, keeping close tabs on events unfolding is critical. It’s always more productive for the pragmatic, though, to be aware and knowledgeable about such events’ developments.
One of the best ways to do so is by learning from history. For the most part, natural events are unpredictable, random in impact and reach, and localized. Economic collapses, on the other hand, follow a more cyclical dynamic and have all-embracing consequences.
Because consumption, finance, and economy are in great part determined by psychology and behavior (mainly fear and greed); and because humankind always reacts the same to abundance and scarcity, history tends to repeat itself with reasonable consistency and similarity in these areas.
Even though crashes can’t be forecast with accuracy, brewing crises always send warning signs frequently early on. Perhaps even more important (and useful for us), its consequences are well studied and vastly documented.
The current crisis is being compared to The Great Depression of the 1930s
But how these SHTFs compare away from charts and figures, more close to society and people’s lives? Are contemporary fears and (apparently insurmountable) matters of monumental debts, hyperinflation risk, social fragmentation, political animosity, government intervention, and widespread conflicts genuinely unprecedented?
I looked at a few excerpts from The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth to find out. It’s a personal yet surprisingly dispassionate account of the darkest years of the 1930s big slump, right after the stock market crash of 1929. Written 90 years ago in journal format as events were unfolding, without hindsight or historical distancing. It is a candid and powerful documentation of the depression zeitgeist.
Benjamin Roth was a young lawyer in Youngstown, OH, then an important steel production center of the flourishing Rust Belt. A common, middle-class professional and family man hit directly by the economic devastation, Roth was trying to understand and cope with the craziness going on. All that makes his observations very compelling and his narrations all the more relatable.
Reading through Roth’s diary feels like reading a tweet,