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The Roaring Twenties.

 
 
Elmud
 
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 02:15 am
Everyone knows that the great depression started in 1929. What I would like to know, is what was the attitude or environment of our society before the Great Depression. The high flying roaring twenties. Everyone seemed to be flush. Out there having a good ole time making money hand over fist. Making cash and entertainment. That was the rule of the day. Coming and going, going and coming. Not a care in the world. Life was a big party.

I'm not really all that familiar with the Roman empire. I 'm familiar with just a little. But, while Constantine was forming his thing, the eastern empire was crumbling. His was too at the time. He instituted a religious form of government to change the direction his empire was going as to not fall apart like the eastern empire was. What was the attitude preceding the fall? What was the environment like?

We are facing an economic collapse. Another great depression unless something extraordinary happens. In the past twenty or so years, what has our attitude been? Fast easy money and entertainment. Selling houses for twice or more than their worth. Selling everything for twice what its worth. Every middle man in town getting his hand in the pie. Creating an enormous amount of unjustifiable overhead that dictated the costs of things. Plush lifestyles filled with pleasures and toys. Everyone having a good ole time. But, the good ole times may be over. The good ole times have caused the condition of our economy. "The American Way of Life". Was it worth it? Only time will tell.

It has been said that those who refuse to learn from history, are condemned to repeat it. I believe we have been repeating this attitude of the twenties. I also believe that if we pull out, we more than likely will repeat it again. It is the nature of man. It is a circle that cannot seem to be broken.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 2,691 • Replies: 9
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avatar6v7
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 03:12 am
@Elmud,
That isn't an entirely accurate comparison- one is the cycle of Empires- expansionist growth, growth slowing, no growth and stability and wealth, decadence, fall. The other is the cycle of reccession and growth- instabilities caused by rapid growth destabilised system, economic slowdown, shares crash, mass unemployment, government intervention, jobs begin to be created again, increased spending, more jobs, more spending, recession goes into reverse, growth, new jobs, barriers to free market removed, more growth and jobs, instabities cause problems...
One is the charting of the inevitable fall of Empires, the other is the cyclical nature of our economic system. They both seem to repeat themselves, and not in the same way. That is the only real point of conncection.
Elmud
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Mar, 2009 06:56 pm
@avatar6v7,
Naw. They are both the same. Rampant materialism, pleasure seeking and greed. Always has been, always will be. Unless "man" begins collectively to examine himself in a moral sense, realize the consequences and has an "awareness" of how things work positively and negatively, he will repeatedly ,(collectively), be his own worst enemy. This includes the economy.
avatar6v7
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Mar, 2009 02:39 pm
@Elmud,
Greed and narccasism are universal problems, certainly, but this comparison is misleading. Corrupt empires fall in times of crisis, but seemingly corrupt economies plunge us all into misery for a few years until the misery is pushed safely beneath the surface again. Economic instability has so far managed only to either a)bring about the creation of more tools for the perpetuation of a rotten system or b)bring into power totalitarian states that are even worse. Ulitmatly linking the two is not helpful.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Mar, 2009 02:51 pm
@Elmud,
Elmud wrote:
In the past twenty or so years, what has our attitude been?
What is the evidence that there has been only one attitude?

You've correctly identified the proximate cause of the economic collapse, but I don't think you've hit the mark on the attitude.

There's been a growing income disparity for a very long time in this country, and that has caused the general population to rely more and more heavily on credit leverage -- for tuition, with credit cards, and with mortgages. It's not euphoric greed and excess that's brought this about, it's been the stagnation of middle class income compared with the cost of living.

At the same time, this has been facilitated by the easy availability of credit. Why? Because the wealthy investors (not so much individuals, but rather corporations, investment firms, foreign treasuries), have gobbled up high interest securities (like credit cards and like mortgages) because the rate of return has been so high.

So the standards for credit have plummetted because investors have known that even a 5-10% default rate on mortgages is acceptable when 1) the interest payments are 9%, and 2) the price of housing has been going up and up and up, so that even defaults aren't necessarily a loss. This has motivated them to make easy credit available.

I think there are indeed parallels not just with the 1920s, but also with every other bubble / collapse. I don't think there are with Rome -- Rome was just too topheavy, too corrupt, and suffered from invasions and plagues and decay. It was a much more chronic problem.
Elmud
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Mar, 2009 07:32 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
What is the evidence that there has been only one attitude?

You've correctly identified the proximate cause of the economic collapse, but I don't think you've hit the mark on the attitude.

.

Yeah. "our" was a poor choice of words. I should have used "their". Here is the attitude. "I", am going to get mine. Regardless of what it costs. Regardless of who it hurts. Regardless of what consequences it may have on the future our nation, and our children. "I" am going to enjoy life at any cost. And"I" will "enjoy", and not worry. Because worrying and a dollar will not "buy" me happiness.

Let me ask you this Aedes. When gas prices were going through the roof, and people were spending half of their paycheck driving to work each week, why didn't the oil companies make a few concessions or say, sacrifice a bit of their profits just for a short time, so things could be tolerable until things got better? Why? Because of attitude. Greed. When car companies and banks are going under like a **** in a punchbowl, oil companies are reporting all time highs in their profit margins. Why? Because vacation houses in the Bahamas require it Aedes. Because CEO's have a lifestyle that demands it.

It is all about attitude. It is all about greed. I submit that if everyone will take a little less, so others can have a little more, our economy may level out. But, this is a moral issue Aedes. Whatever the symptoms, and they may vary, the root is still the same. Now, then, and way back when. Materialism, pleasure seeking and greed. at the expense of everyone and everything.
avatar6v7
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Mar, 2009 07:41 pm
@Elmud,
I think that preaching restraint to the masses is a waste of time, and more than that, genuinely a dangerous distraction. Of course people should be less greedy, when haven't they? But the real problem is with a very few, very rich people, and more importantly the system they represent. We shouldn't be blaming the populace for being to greedy when they are acting in a system that encourages that greed. We need a new economic system- one that rewards virtue, not vice- but the change is not going to come because we behave well on a small scale. I find the same problem with enviromentalism; we have a vast global problem- a system of enviromental exploitation- but for some reason the solution is don't drop litter, turn off your lights and don't drive so much. All good ideas certainly- but it does not adress the source of the problem and is being used as a way of shifting responsibility away from corporations, governments and organisations and onto individuals.
Elmud
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Mar, 2009 07:45 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
I think that preaching restraint to the masses is a waste of time, and more than that, genuinely a dangerous distraction. Of course people should be less greedy, when haven't they? But the real problem is with a very few, very rich people, and more importantly the system they represent. We shouldn't be blaming the populace for being to greedy when they are acting in a system that encourages that greed. We need a new economic system- one that rewards virtue, not vice- but the change is not going to come because we behave well on a small scale. I find the same problem with enviromentalism; we have a vast global problem- a system of enviromental exploitation- but for some reason the solution is don't drop litter, turn off your lights and don't drive so much. All good ideas certainly- but it does not adress the source of the problem and is being used as a way of shifting responsibility away from corporations, governments and organisations and onto individuals.

I hope I've addressed that in my previous post.
0 Replies
 
Elmud
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Mar, 2009 08:42 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
I think that preaching restraint to the masses is a waste of time, and more than that, genuinely a dangerous distraction. Of course people should be less greedy, when haven't they? But the real problem is with a very few, very rich people, and more importantly the system they represent. We shouldn't be blaming the populace for being to greedy when they are acting in a system that encourages that greed. We need a new economic system- one that rewards virtue, not vice- but the change is not going to come because we behave well on a small scale. I find the same problem with enviromentalism; we have a vast global problem- a system of enviromental exploitation- but for some reason the solution is don't drop litter, turn off your lights and don't drive so much. All good ideas certainly- but it does not adress the source of the problem and is being used as a way of shifting responsibility away from corporations, governments and organisations and onto individuals.

I guess I am a little too passionate about this subject. Ya can't legislate morality. And maybe, not even corporate responsibility. I suppose that would be a dangerous thing. Still, it sure is frustrating at times.
Resha Caner
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:03 pm
@Elmud,
Sorry, I came late to this conversation. If you want to read an excellent first-hand account of the 1929 crash, read "Only Yesterday" by Frederick Lewis Allen.
0 Replies
 
 

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