Worst Case Financial Scenarios the US Has Survived

We really really need to study US history more. Here’s Steven Den Beste, a knowledgeable guy and a best on WWII history, and all he can think of is the stock crash of 1929.

The real comparison is to the huge number of Panics, Bank Crashes, and other non-fun things that happened to US currency during the 1800’s. None of these get covered in US history any more, unless you take some kind of business/finance US history. When my dad went to college, it was a big topic, however. (There was also a lot about tariffs in US history, back then. You don’t need to study that, other than to know they’re a bad idea.) So when I was reading his textbooks as a kid, my view of US history was that Andrew Jackson and the Bank of the United States, bank panics, dollars turning to paper, stupid Cross of Gold speeches, and farmers having bad stuff happen, was all part of the tapestry of US history. It happened to the Founding Fathers and to Lincoln’s father. It happened to Little House on the Prairie. 1929 was just the latest in a long line of financial bad stuff. It hurts us, but it doesn’t kill us.

So here you go: The Panic of 1792. The Panic of 1796-1797. The Panic of 1819. The Panic of 1837 (with five-year depression). The Panic of 1857. (Okay, I admit that was probably one of the causes of the Civil War heating up so fast.) The Panic of 1873, aka “The Great Depression” and “The Long Depression.” The Panic of 1893. The Panic of 1896. The Panic of 1901. The Panic of 1907. And a ton more in the late twentieth century that you don’t really notice or remember, other than them being depressing sources of money loss or price inflation at the time. And here’s a historical list of all the US recessions.

We don’t want that stuff to happen, but historically, it doesn’t rip apart our culture and turn us into raging barbarians. It doesn’t turn Americans into cannibal zombies, either. The worst that’s happened is the South’s situation after the Civil War, and that was mostly because they had to totally restructure and rebuild everything (wartime destruction, sudden lack of slaves, and tons of dead soldiers not there to help) as well as deal with sometimes-punitive laws controlling this process (Reconstruction). It is best compared with Germany after WWII; and yet, the South also survived.

Meanwhile, the Maya say, “Don’t panic. And stop cashing in on 2012.”


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3 responses to “Worst Case Financial Scenarios the US Has Survived

  1. Pingback: Worst Case Financial Scenarios the US Has Survived | Aliens in This World « Head Noises

  2. Zeke

    “historically, it doesn’t rip apart our culture and turn us into raging barbarians”

    True. But then, we’ve never had such a large proportion of the population that is either urban or dependent on government (or both). This would tend to worsen the effects of instabilities.

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