If we have depression in the next few years,how will it compare to 1930's re availability of products?

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Hi all- Real interesting economics discussions on this BB. Thanks to all who suggest good books and articles. Hope you keep it going no matter what happens with the Y2k bug. The old folks I know from the 30's depression say there was plenty to buy, but nobody had any money. Back then America made much of its consumer goods, but since then a lot of manufacturing we depend on is overseas related. I am wondering how a USA depression will affect the actual availability of all the many things my family uses, or if it will be the same old story of plenty on the shelves but few folks having money to buy. If our depression stops the consumers black hole for overseas goods, and foreign nations are also in depression, how does that affect what I need at Wal Mart and the grocery store? Got any practical advice if you see " the big picture" better than I do? Is this impossible to anticipate, or are the modern trade differences going to make things definitely different from the 30's re. availability of goods?

-- carolyn (carolyn@luvmyhub.com), January 17, 2000


I don't think there would be any shortage of goods unless there is a major breakdown in society. Initially, there would be a surplus and we should see substantial price reductions.

-- Danny (dcox@ix.netcom.com), January 17, 2000.



-- SETH (seth@yahoo.com), January 17, 2000.

"there was plenty to buy, but no money". In those days the plenty consisted of flour, corn meal, beans, rice, salt and pepper, sugar, coffee, meat and bacon, some eggs, although most eggs and milk were produced on the home ground or the neighbor's. 99.9% of what you see in WalMart was not available at any price in the 30s. It simply didn't exist. For the most part, you grew it or you didn't have it. The people in the cities suffered far more that those in the country, but at that time this was an agriculture nation and most people had chickens, cow and garden. This of course excludes those in the dust bowl who had to leave the land. My preps are so superior from what was eaten during the depression. Remember, no refrigeration, perishables were not shipped via rail and trucks. I remember the thrill in up state NY of getting an orange in my Christmas stocking. Now you can eat even the most exotic fruits and veggies all year long. If not fresh, then frozen or canned. Not so in the 30s. The thing that disturbs me the most if there is a depression is that the morality of the country is not the same. Now they will knock the haves on the head and burn what you have even if they don't want it. It will be a haves and havesnot war...which in many instances can become a black vs white war. It will be economy that divides us into racism. Not a pretty picture. Best to live in the country and grow your own as much as you can, no matter your color. And I find out here in the country, where there is a racial mix, we all get along fine. I think my black friends and neighbors would band together with their white neighbors. But not so in the cities where the economic differences between the races are so apparent. Just my ramblin' thoughts. Taz

-- Taz (Tassi123@aol.com), January 17, 2000.

You place entirely too much trust in anyones opinion of how something like that will be. Most can't accurately predict next weeks gasoline prices, let alone something of this magnitude.

-- Rob (maxovrdrv51@hotmail.com), January 17, 2000.

Hey Rob,

Ever thought that maybe she's trying to start a discussion? That she brought some points that maybe should be considered? Why hop on carolyn for asking a question? Cool off, man.


Consider this. If no one has the money to pay for it then the shipping lines that bring the product in will have no end customer to pay them. The importer won't be able to sell it, so he won't order it, nor can he pay for it. This must ripple all the way back to the manufacturer.

An analogy is the drastic reduction in grain prices suffered by American farmers because of the turbulence in the Asian markets a couple of(three?) years ago. Their currencies dropped versus the dollar, grains became more expensive to them, so they stopped buying. The price of American grain then went down the tubes.

This would especially be true if oil prices were high, therby raising import costs.

Actually, if the US goes into depression, and the US consumer stops buying, the world may be in a heap of trouble. We would begin to export -- we would export our depression around the world.

By the way, the rich actually did very well during the 1929 (and following) depression. So did those who had a business that catered to the rich. (Better to sell caviar than bread)

-- rocky (rknolls@no.spam), January 17, 2000.

---if we were to have a 30's era style depression, I think society would be worse off. Back then, about 1/2 or so folks still lived very rural, with handpump wells, large gardens, woodstoves or coal stoves and locally available fuel, etc. Now they don't, that's why the stakes of a potential y2k crash caused so much concern, the basic necessities would have been gone, let alone any of the cheap global luxuries we now have. Best way to survive any big depression like that is about the same as preparing for a high number level y2k crash. Live rural, have your own water supply, be self sufficient in food as much as possible, be out of debt and own your little place outright rather than getting trapped into a decades long mortgage, be in a business that will be around no matter what, like food for instance. Those sort of things. It also helps to stock up on mundane things like clothing, buy extra when on sale for next year and years after, bag it up and put it away. Any little thing you can do to pay once for something, not keeping paying forever. Another example, alternate energy, makes sense long term to get completely off the grid, so start small with some backup alternate energy scheme that fits for you now, and add to it on a regular basis. Just a lot of common sense stuff. Anything you can do NOW that will help you through any sort of emergency LATER, whether it's economic, natural disaster, or whatever.

-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), January 17, 2000.

"And a bag of gold will buy a loaf of bread" I wish we'd all been ready....L.Norman 1969

-- gomer (gnomer@dot.com), January 17, 2000.





-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.com), January 17, 2000.

TAZ-I grew up also in upstate NY and we always got an orange in the bottom of our stockings at Christmas. It was an exceptional treat, as we only had berries and apples in season and no other fruit during the year. I've never heard of anyone else with this same tradition, and my experience has been that most people look at me like I have grown a horn when I relate it.


-- Bill (Bill@SHF.com), January 17, 2000.

Hey Bill and Taz, I remember getting that wonderful orange in the bottom of my stocking, and some great assorted nut's as well. I am 42 years old and now I do the same for my kids even though fresh fruit is abundant all year long. It's a great tradition!

-- Lil Red (schoolhouse@jps.net), January 17, 2000.

An orange, a peppermint stick and a new penny. Those were the favorite stocking treats for my sister and I, now of my children and grandchildren. ---justme (46)

-- justme (justme@myhouse.com), January 17, 2000.

Get a Grandparent. Don't have one, then go the local nursing care facility and borrow one. Seriously, they would love to talk about their lives and how they got by during the depression. Information like that just isn't part of this societies consciousness.

Think about the essentials and work out from there, what if gas was hard to come by? Your Walmart, or any other store, might have a hard time getting odd items. In the thirty's cash was king but who had it? Think if your income disappeared tomorrow how long could you pay the mortgage? Pay that car lease? How many of your neighbors live pay check to pay check all on borrowed money needing to income streams to make all the payments? We have record bankruptcies in a booming economy, there is a dis-connect.

The short answer, what you NEED in any depression changes drastically.

-- Squid (ItsDark@down.here), January 18, 2000.

I love you too, Lynnie sweetie.

-- Hub (hub@your.bed), January 19, 2000.

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