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"There comes a time when efforts to avoid the truth begin to fail, when one can no longer go about daily life and pretend that all is okay. If you are like most of us, you are experiencing this."  from the website http://october2011.org/...  

"Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans." John Lennon

..I want to further add that if a depression does hit here again you will notice the huge differences between the first one and this one....

There are some substantial differences between our society in the early 21st Century, and America in the 1930s. With these differences, our society is now much more fragile and vulnerable to collapse. Here are a few that come immediately to mind:

Consider the Attributes of America in the 1930s :

A largely agrarian and self-sufficient society. (Now, just 1% of the population operating farms and ranches feed the other 99%.)

Not heavily dependent on computing and communications, technology, grid power, and petroleum-based fuels.

Shorter chains of supply. Most food was grown within 100 miles of where people lived.

A very small underclass that was dependent on charity or public welfare.

Lower property tax rates and lower (or nonexistent) license fees, vehicle registration fees, et cetera.

The majority of workers lived near their work.

Most displaced workers were willing to accept lower-paying jobs--even doing hard physical labor.

The entire nation was economically self-sufficient and could carry on without many imports.

Far greater self-sufficiency at the household level (domestic water wells, windmills, wood burning stoves, home vegetable gardens, home canning, and so forth)

A much lower level of indebtedness (public and private). At the outset of the Depression most families had cash savings. (We are now a nation of debtors.)

A sound currency, still backed by specie. (Although FDR's administration seized most privately-held gold in 1933, the currency was at least still fully redeemable in silver coinage until 1964.)

Lower percentage of corporate employment--so there were less risk of huge layoffs that would devastate communities

A significantly more moral society that still had compunctions and a prevalently law-abiding attitude.

A homogeneous population that largely shared common Judeo-Christian values. A much larger portion of society attended church regularly

A simpler, less extravagant lifestyle, with tastes in cooking and entertainment that did not require large outlays of cash.

Most families owned only one car (with proportionately lower registration and insurance costs), and they lived in smaller homes that were less expensive to heat.

In summary, in the 1930s it cost a lot less to live (as a percentage of income) and people were willing, able, and accustomed to "making do" without. When people lost their jobs, in many cases they didn't lose their homes because they were paid for. Many folks could simply revert to a self-sufficient lifestyle and earn enough with odd jobs to pay their property taxes.

The bottom line: If America were to experience a Second Great Depression, given the high level of debt and systems dependence, there would be enormous rates of dislocation and homelessness. And with modern-day immorality and the prevalent "me first " attitude, I have no doubt that riots and looting would absolutely explode.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4....really get involved.... http://october2011.org/frontpage The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:06:03 PM PDT

  •  I normally try to rec... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aoeu, highacidity

    ...stuff I comment in, but I'm honestly not sure if you're trolling.  

    Immorality???  Specie?!?!?

    I live in a city.  A queer section of a very liberal city.  Will it be Leningrad or Watts?  I don't know -- human beings can disappoint in every way or stun with their resilience and generosity.  I do know that there is a morality here, and it is in its way at least as strong as the church goin' gold-backed society of my grandfather's time.  I also know that when he built a business to employ people in the depression, he did it by repairing those fancy new appliance machines, in this same city, complex and fractured, then as now.

    Your assumptions feel profoundly offensive from here.  If it does get that bad, pining for a good old days won't be what saves us.   It will be something we find in ourselves, and this stuff won't help us discover it.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:23:53 PM PDT

    •  I would suggest opening your eyes....nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anafreeka

      Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4....really get involved.... http://october2011.org/frontpage The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by Mindmover on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:27:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh djeez. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity

        I should have just stayed quiet, and its time to go for the day.

        All specifics aside -- and I am sure from your diary we disagree utterly on quite a few things -- but all that aside -- we all may very well have to decide to cooperate with each other in ways which are unprecedented in my lifetime.  You can have some of this wiccan transie's dinner, and I won't kick you out for praying over it.  Can you say the same?

        Much of what you say about social fabric is true.  But at the core, social fabric is faith in each other and common decency.  Are you helping that or hurting it here?

        Is all.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:41:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am so sorry that I offended your sense of (0+ / 0-)

          reflectional decorum.....

          please take this apology and realize that my comparison was not to frighten or intimidate you......

          Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4....really get involved.... http://october2011.org/frontpage The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

          by Mindmover on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:54:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your reply is a bit arrogant... (0+ / 0-)

        … not a good way to get your point across. You and wheninrome appear to be on the same wavelength regarding jessical's comment too.

        I think I may understand enough of your diary to answer her, but seeing your attitude to her in your own diary no less, eh… time to move on.

        All IMVHO of course.

        •  arrogance is going to be the least of your worries (0+ / 0-)

          when the shit hits the fan.....

          my answer was one of reality and anyone that is not paying attention is going to be buried in his/her own drivel.....

          Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4....really get involved.... http://october2011.org/frontpage The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

          by Mindmover on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:47:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't understand your comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anafreeka

      specie means that coins are worth what they're worth and paper money was backed by coins or some amount of gold.........but whatever.

      I totally don't understand your comment in the context of the diary.

      •  how does gold backed currency (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity

        ...help a nation of people cooperate and recover?  You've got to be in to some seriously Ron Paul-esqe theory about the gold standard to buy it.  And its a laundry list of things that are wrong with us...we are immoral, we don't believe in god, we don't care about each other, we don't live on farms...

        Good grief.  There's a lot of truth that simpler and smaller societies have strengths in a downturn.  In fact, there are a lot of interesting things to talk about on that level.  But...we don't have a gold standard?  

        Meh.  Generally telling people you just don't understand their senseless point is a way to get them to write comments like this one, so one can sit back and go "oh look".  Glad to oblige.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:00:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your anger or whatever it is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anafreeka

          fake outrage is misplaced. This was a compare and contrast of the complex systems existing in the face of the huge income disparity within both environments.

          It's not asking to go back to a gold standard, it acknowledges its part in the scenario as a means to look at the differences.

        •  YOU certainly do not have to buy anything (0+ / 0-)

          that I say.....

          Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4....really get involved.... http://october2011.org/frontpage The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

          by Mindmover on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:55:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm thinking we read a different diary... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome

      I reread the diary after I looked at your comments. I don't see that the diary's author wrote something "profoundly offensive." Perhaps your interpretation zeroed in on the points that I missed. Times have change since the 1930's.

      I just interviewed a ninety-year old woman for a sociology class in April. She talked about the depression and how families made do with what they had. They didn't rely on processed foods to feed the family. They didn't have leisure time in front of the television or use a computer. We are more connected today (which is good) but many Americans still live in their own little world. They (me) rely on products or things being available. My friend sees a negative change from when she was young. She knows the truth.

      Today many Americans fall under the author's descriptions...not everyone. I thought this was an excellent diary about someone's perspective about our current times. Take it as it is...

  •  The other thing is that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anafreeka

    cities were greener and more productive. Use of backyards for a stable/carriage house, chicken coops, large gardens are not the norm and not allowed.

    I have almost 2 acres in the suburbs and could have some chickens but restrictions would not allow it.

    My grandparents had to sell their car during the depression and they were on the fortunate side. Both worked. My grandfather went overseas to make ends meet because he had valuable skills.

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