Despite most of the economics profession declaring the recession over — I think they are premature — I got into an interesting debate with Mish last night over the state of the economy.

I have been calling this the “Great Recession,” and suggested the worst of it is over, and we are now in a not-so-great, ordinary recession. Mish believes we are in something far worse: A Depression (See Depression Debate – Is this a Depression?)

In an email exchange, Mish expanded his thinking:

“I believe we are in a depression.

Prior to the “Great Depression” the word recession did not even exist. I do not know where the dividing line is, I just know we are over it.

If that sounds strange, note the NBER does not have a formal definition for recession. Some people get together and decide when it started and when it ended, based on many factors of unknown and probably varying weight. Recessions are not based on two quarters of negative growth as many people think.

To say we are in a depression one needs to look at a lot of factors and I certainly mentioned them. Note that we can have “a depression” even if it does not match “the great depression”.

There are just too many parallels to things that happened in the 30’s in regards to housing, credit, the stock market, jobs, treasury yields, etc etc etc that “recessions” since then did not have.

Treasury yields and consumer spending might easily be deciding factors. The Fed’s reaction is another difference. This is certainly not like the stagflations in the 70’s and 80’s at all. And it differs from the 2001 recession in that consumers threw in the towel.

So it’s not just a case of being more severe, there are numerous parallels in play that do not match prior recessions.”

I have a few minor quibbles with some of his comments, but for the most part, we essentially agree that 1) This was a very severe economic downturn; 2) Some things are very parallel to 1929-39 era.

Our disagreements? Well, the NBER includes a definition of a recession every time they formally announce one. Here is the December 2008 Business Cycle Dating Committee statement:

“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”

On the other hand, I know of no widely recognized definition of what a Depression is.

Let’s look beyond that. While we can find some obvious parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, there are also some enormous differences. Looking at the current contraction versus the 1930s, we note several very significant factors that distinguish the two eras:  The safety net of unemployment insurance, FDIC bank deposit guarantees, Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security, etc. that exist today. The USA safety net may not be ideal, but it is far better than what existed during the 1930s. That alone has made this contraction quantitatively different in terms of Human misery than the 1930s.

OK, this recession is far less miserable than the 1930s. What of the economic data, the specifics from that era?

Consider:

• From its 1929 peak to the ultimate low in 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 89% versus 43% for the 2008 collapse — literally, the Depression was 2X worse;

• In the 1920s and ’30s, Mortgages were interest only, 3 (or 5) year financings, with a balloon payment at the end. No balloon payment, or rollover of credit, you lost the house.

•  Credit disappeared after the crash — and defaults skyrocketed. Foreclosures may be high today at a rate of 1 per 81 homes with a mortgage, but they are nowhere near the 1 in 4 homes with a mortgage that defaulted or could not roll over their loans;

• I haven’t come across reliable data as to how much home sales dropped and prices fell, but with a 25% foreclosure rate and credit nonexistent, it is probable that, like the stock market, it was far worse than the current housing collapse;

• Manufacturing output took production in the  1930s back to the lowest levels since 1901, almost a third of a century earlier;

Consider the steel industry:  Production dropped 75% drop from its pre-crash peak (1929), cascading from more than 63 million net tons of ingot iron in 1929 to barely 15 million tons produced in 1932.

• Bethlehem Steel, which had been at 90% capacity in ’29, was operating at 13% of capacity by 1932. Other than securitizing mortgages, underwriting derivatives and/or credit default swaps, can you name any major company or industry that saw this sort of collapse today?

• Any measure of unemployment — U3 at ~10% or U6 ~17% — is far below the 1930′s one in four adult males unable to fund work. (See chart below)

• Producer prices (PPI index) didn’t fall single digits — it utterly collapsed in the 1930s, far worse than today.

During the Great Depression, the U.S. economy simply collapsed into shambles. Lenders faced heavy investment losses, communities were unable to collect property taxes, the construction industry was all but frozen. Unemployment rates ran over 25 percent. Industrial capacity plummeted. Municipalities were badly in need of funds. The automobile industry ground to a full halt. During the worst of the Depression, one in five homes was in danger of
foreclosure.

Even the worst of the complex difficulties of the 2008–2009 credit crunch and housing recession were mere sun showers compared to the financial hurricane of the Depression era: Banks have f ailed, but the FDIC’s guarantees have prevented widespread panic. Unemployment has risen, but f ar below the worst levels of the 1930s. And the two million or so foreclosures over recent years are f ar less, on a percentage basis, than the nearly 20 percent foreclosure rate in the 1930s.

In short, while the broad economy circa early 2009 is ugly, it remains far healthier than during the Great Depression — by just about every measure, and in many cases, by orders of magnitudes.

Have a look at this chart. It shows not just underemployment (full time workers who could only find part time jobs) but shows that at the peak, over 35% of workers were unemployed.

>

1926-47 UE

Category: Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

192 Responses to “Depression versus Recession?”

  1. Mannwich says:

    Great points but I would add that this is not in the past. We’re still in the middle of this story. You used the term “WAS a very severe economic downturn”. The Fed is now backstopping everything in sight in order to keep up the appearances that we’re turning the corner and prosperity is “around the corner”. This is ludicrous. It’s merely a shell game in which the powers that be are backstopping everything with money they don’t have. Common sense alone tells me that this cannot continue forever. We’re barely a year into the true full-blown crisis. This story will have several chapters (years) to it before its done. Therefore, I wouldn’t use the the past tense in describing it.

  2. Bruce in Tn says:

    Barry,

    I think I agree with Manny. There is always the danger of being too eager to accept the gloom and doom scenario for too long. But even though I knew there was some reason I didn’t want to be in stocks, I didn’t feel that things really “came apart” until last September when Dumb and Dumber told us the world would end without massive IB bailouts. So, since history doesn’t repeat, but may rhyme, could it be we are still to early to posit an outcome? Is it 1930 instead of 1938?

  3. Bruce in Tn says:

    And along about 1930, were people rapidly paying off debt the way Americans have been this summer and early fall? If we weren’t a consumer economy then, but are now, then how can the populace becoming more tight fisted by the month bode well for the near future? I know sometimes I can’t string enough synapses together to make a cogent thought, but this seems a bit of a problem to me…

  4. Moss says:

    No question we would be calling it a depression w/o the extraordinary government intervention/backstopping. The mere fact that all the post great depression backstops are taxed (FDIC, unemployment, food stamps) is also proof that this is not just a recession.

  5. cvienne says:

    I’ll 2nd, 3rd, & 4th what Manny just said…

    We’re just getting started here… And not to get off track, but we haven’t even suffered a significant “crisis” yet (natural disaster, pandemic, cultural revolt, nuclear or other terrorist attack)…

    This is VERY MUCH on “pins & needles” as we speak…

    It may play out not only through the present business cycle (which many are using as a measure to say we’ve turned a corner), but through a few GENERATIONS of business cycles…

    To put it into perspective… I would doubt the equity indices break out to new all time highs until well past 2030, or beyond (as that is my optimistic view)…

    The last six months is like some kind of crazy dream… Denial comes in an actually very clever form… That is, the UNWILLINGNESS to use the word “Depression”…

    It’s as if Ben Bernanke said… “No Depression… No! I studied that and we won’t have it”… So he made some moves… We’re in the first innings of those moves, but the end result will be a Depression just the same… So in 2,090 or something there will be another Ben Bernanke who, after TWO FAILED attempts, will convince everyone he is clever enough to avoid the 3rd Great Depression…

    Thus completes the cycle of life… of which incompetence is a lively component…

  6. Mannwich says:

    The minute the Fed even hints they’re taking one toe out of the game, this thing falls apart again, probably sooner. Some “unexpected” event may even force the Fe’ds hand and hasten this…….

  7. Dennis says:

    You simply cannot credibly compare 1932 to 2009.

    Now, maybe in 2012 things get much worse, but for now, the 1930s are far far worse then the past 2 years.

  8. dbneal says:

    We’ve escaped thus far. The depression scenario would require a faltering recovery and/or more financial turmoil like last year in financial firms in the near term. I think the highest probability of financial bankruptcies going forward are more likely in Europe– ones that might represent systemic risk. But these bankruptcies are likely to be contained by governments. Yes, it might be scary to markets and hurt fragile confidence but not create a depression. We may have escaped calamity this time, but the next downturn (perhaps later next decade) after governments have racked-up 150 to 200% of GDP in debt, might be the one that overwhelms regulators and leaves governments in no position of “stimulating” , “backstopping” or “bailing out” anybody.

    One other possible depression scenario is that current government stimuli fade, the economy fades into next year and there is no political will for more simulus. Then the next downturn might be one that sets in motion a slow decay and the financial turmoil/bankruptcies that cascade things down. Financial turmoil from Europe or elsewhere might act as an accelerant. It’s hard to see a true calamity however like the 1930s.

    I think we’ve escaped for now but 10 years from now, it might be the big one!

  9. E says:

    But none of what Barry provided really refutes Mish’s point. In fact, Mish addressed all of that – just because this isn’t like the “Great” Depression doesn’t mean it’s not still a Depression.

    Turn it around and look at it from the opposite angle – compare this to every other recession since the 1930s. Where would you rank it?

    I’m a lean to Mish’s side – that Recession/Depression is not a difference in degree, but kind. This one was started by financial system crises and characterized by the spiral of deleveraging participants.

    ~~~

    BR: You can phrase it however you like — “Just because its a great recession doesn’t make it a depression.”

    There is no definition of depression, so what are we really debating?

  10. beaufou says:

    Honestly BR,
    we just gave the World AIDS and the first thing on everyone’s mind in Washington is how to get our next hard on.
    The system has failed and is collapsing, without massive public spending, there is no economy, how long do you expect it to survive?
    How long will our many “friends we pissed off over the years” go along with the FED ponzi scheme and the idea that we can print and do whatever we want because we have the Dollar.

  11. Andy T says:

    As I’ve mentionend numerous times….

    The good thing now is that we’re a debtor nation and not a creditor nation. It’s easy to kill imports and remedy your trade deficit. It’s a lot harder to make someone import the crap you make (see: China) when they’ve stopped buying.

    Also, we have a fiat currency and will “eventually” be able to hyperinflate our debts away (years from now) if the populace allows for it. But, remember, Japan has been trying to inflate for decades but it’s actually unpopular….there’s a bunch of old people there with savings who don’t mind deflation….

    Also, as a nation, we have surplus food and plenty of houses to shelter people…and the cable has already been laid to all the homes…so we’ve even got cable TV. This won’t be a problem at all….

  12. Graphite says:

    The point is that you can easily compare 2009 to 1930. Pulling a bunch of stats out of the absolute bottom of the depression and saying “we haven’t gone that far yet” is a pretty poor argument.

    Here’s Bob Hoye responding to a similar argument from Allan Metzler:

    Metzler is considered to be one of the leading experts on monetary policy, but his approach seems naïve, or he is making a desperate tout. This year (2009) is the first year after a classic crash and unemployment has been around 9 percent. The number for the first year after the 1929 crash was 8.7%, and it wasn’t until the fourth year after the crash that unemployment reached 24.9%.

    There could be some difference in the calculation, but those flogging this as evidence of no depression should be more thorough in their research and have more regard for logic. Metzler has not been the only one to use this argument and if it was in a term paper it would be marked “D”.

    Aside from that, all I really see from BR here is the argument that our wise, benevolent overseers have everything under control with programs like Medicare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and the FDIC, all of which are totally dependent on the government’s continued ability to issue massive amounts of debt. Color me less than reassured.

    I’m pretty amazed that even as late as 2009 so many people think we’ve got it figured out so much better than those dummies in the 30s. What if our current course is just putting in place the elements for an even more catastrophic crash when all of the government’s various props have to be removed?

  13. Graphite says:

    http://newsfrom1930.blogspot.com

    Some of “the shrewdest market traders” now see “definite turning point” in stocks. Conclusion isn’t based on “chart theories such as double or triple tops” but on fundamentals. Believe long side will be the safe one from now on, and “standard stocks can be bought with assurance of profit. The corporations, the country, and the people are very rich, richer than after any previous panic, … industry and the market are in a strong position to stage a comeback.”

    -Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1930

  14. cvienne says:

    Alright… It appears USELESS to argue against the likes of “dbneal” who now think in terms of the next downturn requiring a “faltering recovery”…

    …as if a RECOVERY actually exists now! There is no quarterly number that points to a RECOVERY in any terms other than mass monetization of debt… So you opened up a new credit card account and promptly took a cash advance to pay your bills on the other cards you service for the next 6 months… Swell! You’ve recovered…

    So if one thinks that is a RECOVERY, so be it… All I see on the horizon is demand destruction across the board, and the little demand that there happens to be is based on giveaways that we’re borrowing to create…

    During the housing bubble, they talked about home equity being used as an ATM machine… Well now, the United States of America is being used as an ATM machine…

    Time compresses… and time is going to compress on the situation we find ourselves in now…

    It’ll happen faster than most people think…

  15. danm says:

    Oh no… not that soufflé argument again!

    That’s funny, unemployment in 1930 is quite similar to today’s. Aren’t we closer to 1930 than to 1935?

    I don’t think they thought they were in a depression yet in 1930. But then again, I think they didn’t use the word recession as much as the word depression in those days.

    I think we’re in a recession, heading slowly into a depression.

  16. danm says:

    Now, maybe in 2012 things get much worse, but for now, the 1930s are far far worse then the past 2 years.

    ———
    Probably worse for the elderly… poorhouses anyone?

  17. cvienne says:

    @Andy T

    “Also, as a nation, we have surplus food and plenty of houses to shelter people…and the cable has already been laid to all the homes…so we’ve even got cable TV. This won’t be a problem at all…”

    Andy – You and I agree about many things, but I’m going to take the CAUTIONARY stance on your expressed viewpoint…

    IMO – As a nation, we are a bunch of arrogant, self interested, fractioned entities… We cannot come together for ANYTHING… Within months of the 9/11 attack (and some solidarity), everyone was back at each others throats… Support for Iraq was divided all along… In 2008, many demanded CHANGE, got it, and now don’t like it…

    Even cable TV won’t help us… Why? because the airwaves are infiltrated by FOX vs. MSNBC… Wingnuts like Beck & Limbaugh vs. wingnuts like Maddow & Olberman… In the end, it makes things WORSE, not BETTER…

    The only saving grace is SPORTS… But that needs $$ too… Sponsors have to pay up, and if nobody has the budgets (because Americans don’t have any money), well, there goes your programming…

    We’re milliseconds away from losing what we rely on as ENTERTAINMENT to keep the Romans happy with their bread and circuses…

    I’m not going to say it will fall apart so fast, but be careful… It’s dicier than you imagine…

  18. Onlooker from Troy says:

    I would echo E’s remark: “just because this isn’t like the “Great” Depression doesn’t mean it’s not still a Depression.”

    All you’ve “proven” or made a case for is that it hasn’t been as bad as the GREAT Depression. That’s why it’s called Great. And since this has been much worse than any recession since then, it’s reasonable to differentiate it by calling it a depression. Of course that word has been practically outlawed by some kind of societal consensus, demonstrating once again the human capacity for mass denial.

    And it ain’t over yet either, by the way. No way to tell what the next few years hold, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that we’re far from being out of the woods and the debt deleveraging process could still kick our butts big time once again. So we’ll just have to wait on a final verdict I guess.

    ~~~

    BR: That’s half the argument — the other half is, “What makes this a depression?”

    No one seems to be able to answer that . . .

  19. Wes Schott says:

    cv-

    cycling and F1

    i know you are into football.

    but, you know what i’m talking about

  20. Mannwich says:

    I already dubbed it “The Benign Depression” yesterday. I stand by it today. :-)

  21. Graphite says:

    And since this has been much worse than any recession since then, it’s reasonable to differentiate it by calling it a depression. Of course that word has been practically outlawed by some kind of societal consensus

    We have Keynesian and monetarist economic policymakers now, which means we don’t suffer depressions anymore.

  22. danm says:

    Also, as a nation, we have surplus food and plenty of houses to shelter people
    ———————
    They had surplus of food in the 1930s. They dumped it to try and keep prices up. They had plenty of houses also. Only the banks refused to renegotiate mortgages so forced people out of them.

  23. Mannwich says:

    @danm: Maybe we’ll pay people to destroy homes and condos in The Benign Depression?

  24. Mannwich says:

    @Onlooker: Reincarnation?

  25. Onlooker from Troy says:

    I would also echo and reinforce those who’ve opined that it’s much too early to be making this judgment and evaluation. It’s an exercise in hubris that the fates will use to kick our butts. The quotes from 1930 don’t necessarily mean the same will happen to us, but they sure do demonstrate just how wrong prognosticators can get things. The parallels are indeed amazing and eerie.

  26. mcHAPPY says:

    BR – Great post. It is nice to see intelligent differences of opinion from two of my most frequented bloggers. I agree with many of your points. I tend to agree with Mannwich this is not over and the worst is most likely to come. I wouldn’t label myself a perma-bear as I’ve been called lately. Instead I go with realist (a cliche no doubt). There is a need to deleverage and rid the system of the phony accounting and financial gimmicks – packaged life insurance anyone?

  27. cvienne says:

    @Wes

    Oh I know what you’re talking about… It’s what’s kept the modern day Romans (Italians) occupied for about the past 3-4 decades while they sailed along devaluing their currency (that, and scantily clad TV models)…

    But think of one thing… The Italians were able to devalue the Lira because they were able to maintain an export coefficient of high quality products that came from the Earth (that, and that most of the culture was content with what Americans would consider a 3rd world living standard)…

    Americans can do it too… We have the same basic ingredients… But I have not seen NEAR the culture shift that would be required to be happy with it…

    I hope it happens… Personally, I’ve already re-shaped my life to exist with that standard (which, frankly, I find more appealing)…

  28. fiveboroughs says:

    I work with 4 guys – all in the mid 50′s who have been told that their services will no longer be needed come June of next year. Any job they would be applying for in the field requires computer skills that they just don’t have and frankly I don’t see them acquiring before then. The financial problems caused by the credit mess are happening to coincide w/major changes in the social landscape -it’s way to early to be calling no depression.

  29. Mannwich says:

    @five: And that story is playing out all over the country. Also, I’d hate to be a college kid buried up his/her eyeballs in debt coming out looking for a job. Good luck with that. Should start practicing, “would you like whipped cream on that mocha latte”?

  30. danm says:

    The Italians were able to devalue the Lira because they were able to maintain an export coefficient of high quality products that came from the Earth
    —————
    The key word is export.

    The US is a net importer. The whole system needs to get restructured for an exporting US.

    I can see some resistance to this. Like Canada doing everything in its power to keep its dollar low.

  31. Robespierre says:

    Graphite Says:

    Some of “the shrewdest market traders” now see “definite turning point” in stocks. Conclusion isn’t based on “chart theories such as double or triple tops” but on fundamentals. Believe long side will be the safe one from now on, and “standard stocks can be bought with assurance of profit. The corporations, the country, and the people are very rich, richer than after any previous panic, … industry and the market are in a strong position to stage a comeback.”

    -Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1930

    And following the theme of this. Today in CNBC:

    “We view this as a significant turning point and maybe the early stages of a longer-term bull market,” Nunes told CNBC and said he expects the S&P 500 to reach 1,200 by year-end.

    Ah parallels …

  32. Onlooker from Troy says:

    “I hope it happens… Personally, I’ve already re-shaped my life to exist with that standard (which, frankly, I find more appealing)…”

    Me too amigo, me too.

  33. ben22 says:

    BR,

    Very professional I think how you handled this and nice post.

    I do agree with some others above that I’m interested by your use of was severe in describing your views. Still think the larger story is unfolding. Certainly one can say today that it’s less severe relative to where we were but time will tell the rest of the story.

    Regarding some of the less miserables

    1. Is it accurate to compare the % decline btwn now and then considering in real money (gold) the DOW has in fact dropped as much as during the depression or should this be ignored for a certain reason?

    2. Is there something more behind this chart?

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pCDyiFUv9XU/Sp0z6F0YKHI/AAAAAAAAF_U/MNZEDruzvBQ/s1600-h/manufacturing+sector+output.png

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pCDyiFUv9XU/Sp0z5saWhyI/AAAAAAAAF_M/z1RajJidz3Y/s1600-h/manufacturing+sector+output+yoy+%25+change.png

    when I look at those charts I’d have to consider it’s at least possible that output sets us back as many years as it did during the depression. Perhaps something underlying the charts is making me miss it.

    3. I have never looked but was PPI measured the same way then as it is now?

    perhaps the two of you just need to come up with a new term for this b/c: recession, or even great recession depression, or great depression, all come up a bit short for various reasons in describing what this is.

    I think this was thing that jumped out at me in your post though:

    In short, while the broad economy circa early 2009 is ugly, it remains far healthier than during the Great Depression — by just about every measure, and in many cases, by orders of magnitudes.

    How much of that is because of our economy versus the rest of the world, specifically some emerging markets?

  34. danm says:

    The financial problems caused by the credit mess are happening to coincide w/major changes in the social landscape -it’s way to early to be calling no depression.
    —————
    Right now companies are cutting costs and earnings are firming up because people are still spending. Lifestyles are sticky. Hope is still there. It takes time for people to catch on and make the changes. A couple of years maybe but it will come.

  35. Simon says:

    I’m in the “it’s far from over camp”. The great Depression was a global phenomena so to percieve it correctly you need to look at global data. Which a couple of guys are doing over at vox.

    http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3421

    Barry shows very well that things were far worse in America during the great depression. At that time Amercica was in China’s role, excessive industrial capacity, creditor nation, no social security etc and Europe was in America’s role. Debtor nation etc…

    Things apparently weren’t as bad in Europe during the Great Depression as they were in America.

    So I guess the questions are what will happen in China, now that their biggest customers are broke, and how will it effect the world as a whole?

    I don’t buy that they will suddenly develop a domestic economy and a social security network. But these are thing they should be furiously working on

  36. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Mannwich

    And there’s no shaking that student loan debt off in BK either. It’s a collar they’ll wear till they work it off. Ah, debt servitude, the new American dream. Just wonderful.

  37. Mannwich says:

    danm said: “Right now companies are cutting costs and earnings are firming up because people are still spending. Lifestyles are sticky. Hope is still there. It takes time for people to catch on and make the changes. A couple of years maybe but it will come.”

    Excellent point. I’ve had similar thoughts recently while enjoying a nice green shoots summer for Mannwich. People will refuse to make drastic changes to their lifestyles until the bitter end when they are FORCED to do so. We are in a period of suspended animation that will play out in what will seem like slow motion for the next few years, in the very least.

  38. call me ahab says:

    i like graphite’s post @ 9:26-

    truly- we don’t know what is in store- you can be an optimist as in graphites posted quote- but it won’t change what will transpire-

    and it is true- in 1930- no-one had a clue that a crushing downward spiral lasting years was going to occur- so we can talk about all the wishful thinking- that this is a recession like other recessions- just a bit worse-

    but the business cycle won’t change things-

    there are no jobs to go back to- unless it is minimum wage or slightly better-

    what brought the USA out of the depression was WWII-

    where is the demand for goods going to come from now?

    nowhere

  39. Mannwich says:

    “Better than expected” starting to wilt in the fall?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aBaOuollwwzc

  40. Maybe this becomes a depression — if anyone can define what that is, it would be a huge help — but I see this as a wicked bad recession, nothing more (yet).

  41. ben22 says:

    manny and danm

    what you guys are talking about is social mood and how it floats to extremes. Many people right now that have been looking for a reversal seem to think; what will the event be to cause it?

    All that is going to happen is social mood will reach an extreme of optimism and will reverse.

    But how can this happen?

    You just saw the opposite of it in March.

    And in the data, you had a 3% bullish reading in sentiment on stocks at the lows in March.

  42. Andy T says:

    cv: I was being a bit snarky but not too much. I think one of the “pictures” of the GD was people starving…dustbowl, etc….

    Right now, life’s big annoyance for most is when their cell phone goes out or their AAPL ipod batter dies yet again. Yes, we’re “spoiled,” no doubt. But when I think about what it ‘really’ takes to live, this nation can supply the basic necessities for its people. Whereas, in the GD, there were people who were really without food, shelter…

    I’ve read some stories of people going hungry in some places and I’ve seen the ‘tent cities’ but we’re nowhere near the GD levels yet, and I’m not sure we will get there.

  43. danm says:

    if anyone can define what that is, it would be a huge help —
    ——-
    In Wikipedia they say 10% decline in GDP, and recession lasting more than 3 years.

    They don’t say if GDP flat (not losing 10% ) because of trillions of government injections negates the whole thing. Obviously we’re not 3 years in yet.

  44. Mannwich says:

    I agree, Barry. I wouldn’t call it a “Depression” per se (although I like “Benign Depression”), but I think getting into trying to label this (and other things) misses The Big Picture. That’s all.

  45. rahuldeodhar says:

    I think it would be interesting to compare what happened in Europe around the time of great depression. Its possible what happens in US will be a parallel to what happened to Europe as economic power was drained from the continent and shifted towards the new world.

  46. cvienne says:

    @BR

    I hate myself when I do this, but in this thread, I’m getting myself too bogged down into individual talking points (based on how my perspective related to those talking points on a “head to head” basis)…

    But BR, this is directed at YOU in a macro perspective… I pretend no claims to being RIGHT (nor wish to be)…

    Based on reading BR vs. MISH, I’d have to STRONGLY lean towards what I perceive to be the Mish argument… I’ve posted enough comments in this thread alone for one to try and piece together a synthesis of my viewpoint, but I’m going to argue yet another one here…

    BR – My impression is that someone like you would, say, have MORE TO LOSE, than the average Joe if this turns out to be a “wim-dam-doodle” of a DECESSION…

    To be fair, others may have LESS TO LOSE, so it is easier for them to to hold their own viewpoints (and therefore, be more cavalier with regards to their expressions)…

    It comes down to behavioral sociological dynamics… In a time of compression, the “have nots” want the “haves” to be brought down, whereas, in a time of expansion, the “haves” want the “have nots” to upgrade…

    So BR, if the WORST were to happen, a lifestyle such as yours, of jet-setting to Vail, signing book autographs, and “weekending” in East Egg with the Ferrari/Porsche/Bentley set would lose either its aura, or desirability… Whereas, some some creep “unabomber type”, might see zero net change in his status… As Bob Dylan put it “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose”…

    I don’t know you as a private person, therefore I can’t judge your capacity to, say, “dumb it down”… Perhaps you have a high aptitude for that (but “kicking it in Maine, in a canoe & some fishing with Kotok & the boys” doesn’t exactly cut it as ROUGHING IT if you know what I mean)… On that end, I’d rather hear you got some poison ivy (like ben earlier this summer, or like I’ve been scratching on for the past 2 weeks because you were doing some weeding in your yard, and not PAYING an unwashed illegal alien to do so)… Or something of that nature…

    Anyway, the bottom line is this… Not that you need any CAUTIONARY words from the likes of me, but I’d take extra care to see if any thoughts I had, (what I personally stood to gain or lose) based on whatever the macroeconomic outcome might be, were shaded one way or another because I happened to be situated on a particular “x”/”y” point of the overall matrix…

    ~~~

    BR: Valid points, and I have often wondered about the bias inherent in overpaid Wall St economists and analysts who only see the world through the lens of their own pocketbooks.

    However, I am much more associated with the bearish than bullish camps — the Dow 6,800 forecast, Cult of the Bear, the anti-Bailout positioning, etc. — so in a perverse way, one can argue the worse this gets, the better it is for me personally.

    Regardless, I calls it as I sees it.

  47. Mannwich says:

    I’m also uncomfortable talking about this like it’s in the rear-view mirror. Common sense tells me we should be careful with that but what do I know? I’m not “buying the dips” here.

  48. Todd says:

    There are some major differences between then and now. Some factors help, some hurt.

    1st are the safety nets, it translates that the pain and suffering will not be as bad. The flip side is that since there is not as much pain and suffering things sill take longer to resolve. It’s just spread out over a longer time period.

    2nd information and technology. The 1873 “recession”, the 1901 panic, and 1929 for all intensive purposes operated in a vacuum. Information was slow to arrive, in general reactions were taken without enough information. Now we have almost too much and at the same time not enough information on critical components.

    It is still way too early to tell where we go. My best hope is that we go sideways for a few years. This still doesn’t prevent you from making money, it just makes it harder, and might involve direct investment, or even better direct involvement.

  49. call me ahab says:

    andy-

    the dustbowl was a sever drought-

    irrelevant to the GD- except maybe for dramatic effect- but yes- you are right- people have their iphones and other conveniences-

    but they do in poor countries as well- cell phones are worldwide- does not mean you cannot be poor and on government assistance and not have a cell phone-

    but if this country cannot create jobs that pay a living wage- then more and more people will be on the government “meal plan” and subsisting on jobs that pay marginal wages-

    that is a recipe for a country to slip down the economic ladder-

    i am starting to wonder if the Fed is not engineering a slow crash of the dollar- so in the end our products become competitive and production in this country resumes-

    jobs

  50. investorinpa says:

    Besides this “DEPRECESSION” (my term for it) may now be facing a debtors revolt and banks that are quietly negotiating down debts & interest to cardholders. They don’t typically do that in regular recessions.

    http://contraryriches.blogspot.com/2009/09/debtors-revolution-how-banks-are-shhhh.html

  51. call me ahab says:

    manny-

    i agree-

    much more to come

  52. Todd says:

    Despite all of the changes, it appears the more stays the same. We are at year 1 at minimum 3 year cycle. It’s why a won’t expose more than 5% unless I see a clear signal. nothing is yelling at me right now.

  53. investorinpa says:

    A friend defines the difference in a Tshirt he is selling…”A recession is when your neighbor loses his job…a depression is when you lose your job…and recovery is when Obama loses his job”…..lol, funny, but not accurate.

    Besides calling it a Deprecession, my definition of what is a depression is as follows by Wikipedia:

    In economics, a depression is a sustained, long downturn in one or more economies. It is more severe than a recession, which is seen as a normal downturn in the business cycle.
    Considered a rare and extreme form of recession, a depression is characterized by abnormal increases in unemployment, restriction of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation or hyperinflation are also common elements of a depression.

    Another proposed definition of depression includes two general rules: 1) a decline in real GDP exceeding 10%, and 2) a recession lasting 3 or more years.

  54. Its_Science says:

    There should be a name for the bursting of a credit bubble, during which monetary policy is ineffective. Because that’s what we’re in, and it’s different than a run-of-the-mill recession. The Fed’s balloon has a hole in it.

  55. HarryWanger says:

    Thank you, Barry. At least you understand that the severity of the “crisis” was greatly exaggerated. And thank you for going on record that we are not even close to the Great Depression in “magnitudes” as you said.

    I think you are being a bit conservative though. We are already well out of the recession (May/June marked the end) and we are seeing some growth. It must be painful for many who come here looking for doom or gloom from you but get intelligent thoughts on the improving economy. It helps support my position, although I am much more optimistic.

  56. http://www.shtfplan.com/forecasting/gerald-celente-like-nothing-weve-ever-seen-in-our-life-time-glen-beck-show-february-10-2009_02112009

    “What America has succeeded in creating is not an economy impervious to shocks, but merely one which enables their consequences to be postponed to a later date.” -Peter Schiff
    ~~

    past that, this: “2nd information and technology. The 1873 “recession”, the 1901 panic, and 1929 for all intensive purposes operated in a vacuum. Information was slow to arrive, in general reactions were taken without enough information. Now we have almost too much and at the same time not enough information on critical components.”
    needs to Die a painful Death.

    we had Transcontinental Telegraph service by the mid-1850′s.
    http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=invention+of+the+Telegraph

  57. HarryWanger says:

    Regarding the markets, tomorrow could see a really sharp rally. Consolidation is nearing completion and is like a coiled spring ready to jump. Tomorrow may get the catalyst from economic numbers.

  58. bubbles says:

    I agree with posters commenting that this is far from being over.

    I had a similar debate with someone and they pointed out all the safety nets in place that were not available in the 1930′s and I countered saying while this is true, it does NOT solve the structural problem which is too much debt.

    So instead of 10 years of horrible economic numbers, the USA will have 20 years of just bad economic numbers, like Japan, if we continue with the foolish policies of rewarding bad behavior and bailing out failed companies.

  59. going broke says:

    I’m think’n we’re in a “Compression”.
    (A little past a Recession but not quite at a Depression. )

  60. this is a great post, a systematic chillout from the depression talk….but none of it matters

    because apparently, it’s been dictated that the stock market should go up every single day until everyone who needs to raise equity capital has been given a chance to do so.

    I dont know who exactly is in charge, but certainly, this is the program. Dougie Kass counted 11 different secondaries announced just last night.

    when the last homebuilder or REIT has done their offering, maybe the powers that be will allow for a correction.

    I once thought the earth was round, but the 2009 rally has shaken all of my scientific beliefs to their very core

  61. HarryWanger says:

    TheReformedBroker: Dougie Kass is another one who was lucky enough to call a bottom but has looked foolish trying to call the top – really foolish.

    The market will continue to rise because the economy is improving daily. No conspiracy, no weird science, just good ol fashioned improvement in the numbers.

  62. cvienne says:

    @Todd

    “My best hope is that we go sideways for a few years.”

    I had to chuckle when I read that… NO OFFENSE TO YOU WHATSOEVER, TODD… Just my initial thought when I considered the likelihood…

    My thoughts?

    NO FUCKING WAY!… Why?

    Because if we have embarked on the road (as it seems we have), that our economic fortunes rest in the hands of the likes of Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, TG… I’m not even going to bring Obama into this argument (let’s just assume he appointed people who act in different pools & eddies than “O” himself is capable of understanding)…

    Well look… It’s ABUNDANTLY apparent, that the raping of America is in full force as we speak… I’m not even SUGGESTING partisanship here because it got started WAY before poor O came into office (he’s just the latest “Curly” to the original “Shemp”)…

    So…SIDEWAYS?…

    It’s clear to me that there is no PROFIT in “sideways”… Instead, there is full engineering going on to create an intensifying series of BOOM/BUST cycles (within macro wavelengths), for Goldman & JPM to profit off of…

    “Bully for you…Chilly for me” (DAVID BOWIE)…

    Strap in! (It might not end up being so bad if your name is Wanger and can “indovinate” reversals to within fractions of decimals)…

  63. Mannwich says:

    …….and call 50+% rallies well AFTER the fact.

  64. S Brennan says:

    Good Post BARRY,

    You & I don’t always agree…and I think you’re too upbeat, but…you’re right, FDR built a house of steel re-enforced concrete that neither yesterdays nazi or todays nihilist can burn or bomb.

    It’s good when a dude with a rep can face reality bare fisted. Bring up the issue and knock it down, what we lack is good leadership, that is why we fear. With good leadership we have nothing to fear.

    Good on you!

    & God Bless FDR

  65. cvienne says:

    BTW

    Between the time that BR initiated this LOVELY thread (8:15 time stamp), and now…

    9/09/09 9PM 9 minutes 9 seconds (not military time) has come and gone (on the EAST COAST)… For the 2nd time this century… Time comes and goes quickly doesn’t it?… BE PREPARED THUS…

    So Thor & I-Man, karen and all the rest of you have less than an hour to contemplate my homily on that notion…

  66. laughingAllTheWay says:

    What an amazing thread! Barry posts another awesome, rational position. Which has a very good chance of being right. But just look at all the blow back from the uncomfortable bears. This is just the type of thing they don’t want to consider. They have too much invested in the worse case scenario.

    At this point, I am seeing it is as controversial as the old canard of a red herring about Community Reinvestment Act causing the crisis. Interesting.

    The time for anticipating the crisis, and leveraging that knowledge for gain is probably over. Seems like some people just can’t let it go. Just because we are probably in a secular bear market, doesn’t mean we are in a second great depression.

    The government (and other governments around the world) have shown that deficits don’t matter (until they do – which can be decades down the road). There is a good understanding of debasing currency to manage debt. There is now also a track record of massive government intervention in a financial crisis. Next time, they will actually do it better with the benefit of this experience. Look at how many consecutive bubbles we blew through before the crisis hit. Now we are actually on a path where we will look back some day (worst case scenario here) and say, “look how many financial crises we blew through with bailouts and massive government backstopping before the ‘you know what’ really hit the fan.”

    Even in the great depression, the rich (some) did fine. Everything didn’t end. Barry is a guy with intellect, energy, drive, and vision. CV, BR has nothing to worry about.

    Sour grapes for all who are missing this bull market. So sorry for you.

    Finally the crisis came, and you all were right (once), why can’t you let it go? Get back to the real world, this is not the end of the world. It’s not a depression. This “just you wait and see” stuff is, well, I’ll take the other side of all that action.

  67. HarryWanger says:

    Barry, could you please have this dialogue with the following clowns: Peter Schiff, Nuriel Roubini, Doug Kass and Bill Bonner. Ok, and throw Bill Fleckenstein in the mix too. While you are still too conservative on your assessment of the current economy, at least you understand the worst was exaggerated and at a minimum, stabilization began in the spring. I’ve had enough of the above mentioned folks, so please, even with your conservative view where we are, give them a reality speech. Please.

  68. constantnormal says:

    Nice comparison between the current whatever-it-is and the Great Depression. Now let’s see that same sort of comparison between the current ONGOING whatever-it-is and any severe recession you care to name. [BR: Its far worse]

    And bear in mind that we are more or less forced to use the Great Depression as our only prototype for the “depression” concept, as the 19th century (and earlier) financial panics were in such a different economic and national backdrop as to render them useless for comparison purposes.

    I suspect that you will find that the current (ongoing) whatever-it-is falls in between the two archetypes, and more or less forces one to come up with some sort of definition as to what constitutes a generic “depression”.

    If we are to use the Great Depression as our marker, with nothing being considered to be a depression unless it definitively exceeds the Great Depression in most ways, I think that is a bit disingenuous and leads one nowhere.

    I also think that if we find ourselves with unemployment in excess of 8.5% (to arbitrarily pick a number) for 4-5 years (also to arbitrarily pick a number), with capacity utilization below 75% for that period, then you are going to look pretty silly if you want to call THAT a “recession” and state that it ended when the stock market bottomed in March of 2009. Depressions and recessions are economic things having a wide breadth and depth, while the stock market is a comparatively narrow thing by comparison.

    We will see what develops. As divided as people are over this “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” debate, someone is going to wind up with egg on their face.

  69. HarryWanger says:

    @laughing….perfectly stated! “Finally the crisis came, and you all were right (once), why can’t you let it go? Get back to the real world, this is not the end of the world. It’s not a depression. This “just you wait and see” stuff is, well, I’ll take the other side of all that action.”

    Yes, the crisis of a lifetime came their way yet they still want more. Foolish, naive and, sadly, not making any money in the easiest market of my lifetime. Cheers!

  70. Mannwich says:

    @laughing: “Missing the rally” couldn’t be further from my concerns at this point. I have plenty of long exposure in my retirement accounts that have done well during this recent run. Did you stop to possibly think that many of us are actually concerned with the direction of the country (and generations beyond mine?) and not just concerned with gathering mere crumbs for our greedy selves? I know, what a quaint thought, isn’t it? To me, your “get-what-you-can-while-you-can-any-way-you-can” mindset speaks to the cultural rot in this country that is slowly bankrupting us ethically, morally, and financially. Enjoy your paper gains while the country burns. How patriotic.

  71. CNBC Sucks says:

    The Great CNBC Sucks is the 877th person to agree with Jeff’s original comment. This is like the first thread I have seen in a long time where just about the entire gang — including Mark E. Hoffer even, but no karen, sadly – posted. Heck, most of the Ritholtz fantasy football league is here – cvienne and CFA are the prohibitive favorites, by the way – so I figured I would resurface for the reunion. It’s like February 2009 again, if only for one night.

    The economic abyss is ahead, not behind…but these days, I just like talking about how cvienne and CFA are the prohibitive favorites in the Ritholtz fantasy football league.

  72. Mannwich says:

    @Wanger: I’d give you and others far more credit for your so-called “predictions” if you had actually made them here at TBP. Where were you? After all, you said you’ve been a regular here for a long time. Why so quiet then? Please explain.

  73. Andy T says:

    ahab- yes, i understand the dustbowl was irrelevant to the real estate collapse and debt collapse that began the GD, but the severe drought and land mismanagement of the midwest states sort of exacerbated an already tough scene….sort like “anything that can go wrong will go wrong…” perfect storm stuff….

  74. wunsacon says:

    I say “toe-may-toe”. To me, this is a depression. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make money going long/a-long for the ride up in nominal dollars.

  75. HarryWanger says:

    Mannwich: Melodramatic much? laughing, others and myself, aren’t “gathering mere crumbs for our greedy selves”, we’re making money to pass along for generations. The country is fine, the best in the world. We’re all patriotic and, myself, very optimistic. That’s why the pessimism of people like yourself baffle me. It’s as if you don’t want the country to succeed. That’s the problem I have with the doomers in general – pessimism. Plain and simple.

  76. Mannwich says:

    @CNBC: Since cvienne is the “Tiny Tim” (commish) of our league, I plan to have him merely change the rules midstream to help my team (The Lispy Lloyd “Blankfiends”) win it all, and then I’ll split the (fake paper) proceeds with him. After all, who cares how one “makes money”, right? Just gotta get on the train while you can. USA! USA USA! Definitely something to be proud of.

  77. wunsacon says:

    Yeah, Andy. Imagine if Katrina happened *after* the financial crisis instead of before. Severe flooding and land/water mismanagement sort of exacerbated an already-tough scene.

  78. Graphite says:

    FDR built a house of steel re-enforced concrete that neither yesterdays nazi or todays nihilist can burn or bomb

    What FDR “built” was a series of safety nets rated for 40 pounds, which we’re all desperately hoping will somehow hold, so that we are not forced to choose between landing on the “sovereign default” or the “currency hyperinflation” spike.

  79. Mannwich says:

    @Wanger: Laugh all you want big guy. There’s a difference between being realistic about the macro picture and being optimistic about one’s own prospects. My own personal situation is more than fine but it’s not just about me. Go ahead and laugh. It’s a sign that a top is nearly upon us…….and of course, by then, as all trolls do, you’ll disappear from TBP and reappear under another handle AFTER the next bubble-induced rally to proclaim victory.

  80. danm says:

    1. laughingAllTheWay Says:
    2. HarryWanger Says:
    ——–
    We’re at 2. Has anyone kept track of how may are needed for the market to roll over?

  81. wunsacon says:

    Sorry to join this party late. Plus, drank some port earlier. So…”nytol” :-)

  82. Mannwich says:

    Again, it’s quite easy to come on here after the fact and pound your chest. I reserve my respect for those who make their calls BEFORE it happens and faces the music either way. Wanker is not one of those posters here at TBP.

  83. constantnormal says:

    I find it interesting that those who consider it a fait accompli that it is a “recession” do so because the stock market has bottomed and has has had a roaring rally — in effect seeing the “economy” through a stock-market lens — while those who see it as closer to a “depression” are seeing the “economy” through a much broader range of indicators, of which the stock market is only a single indicator that is only loosely connected to the economy.

    Allow me to remind y’all — THE STOCK MARKET IS NOT THE ECONOMY.

    What will the recession-is-over crowd do if the NBER does not find grounds to declare that the recession is over this quarter, or the next, or if it has not been decreed “over” by the standards body in charge of such things a year from now?

  84. HarryWanger says:

    LOL: I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard this exact statement from ill informed bears during the past several months “My own personal situation is more than fine but it’s not just about me. Go ahead and laugh. It’s a sign that a top is nearly upon us…….”

    -Their personal situation is always fine. It’s not about them, it’s about everyone else. Very magnanimous.
    -It’s always a sign that the top is almost here when realists post economic truth regarding growth.

    Over, and over, and over again. Bear after bear after bear. I admire their consistency – it’s almost as if the same person writes the same nonsense on every blog on the net.

  85. laughingAllTheWay says:

    @ the reformed broker – a little lesson for you – the earth is not round unless “we” say it is round. Scientific beliefs, eh? Too many technical, scientific, accountant types looks for the reason, the logic, the rational, the bullet proof ’cause and effect.’ This is just a trap.

    Society and its constructs (economies, bureaucracies, banks, governments, corporations, etc) are not engineering marvels which follow “laws.” They are living beasts which are only understood through the eyes of the open minded who are willing to sit with uncertainty.

    Barry has done an amazing job of seeing the crisis coming, but not getting stuck focusing on the same story as so many who saw it coming have. I’m very impressed with his ability to reason through the uncertainties, and not cling to one opinion. Look at all the bears who are stuck being bearish. Yes they were right once, but they have been wrong before, and now they are wrong again.

    And another thing. I’m sick of hearing people who make market calls say “I’m always early.” Well, if you are always early, then you are always wrong. Can’t you adjust once you know you are always early?

  86. HarryWanger says:

    laughting…perfectly stated: “Barry has done an amazing job of seeing the crisis coming, but not getting stuck focusing on the same story as so many who saw it coming have. I’m very impressed with his ability to reason through the uncertainties, and not cling to one opinion. Look at all the bears who are stuck being bearish. Yes they were right once, but they have been wrong before, and now they are wrong again.”

    My exact sentiments.

  87. Mannwich says:

    @Wanger: I’m NOT a trader. Just an average person and concerned citizen trying to protect mine and my wife’s financial interests. I don’t DAY TRADE the market. If you were a regular here, you’d know that. And go fuck yourself for questioning my integrity and honesty.

  88. Andy T says:

    @CNBC…you’re going OT there….BR might go off the reservation….CFA will be a tough match for me this weekend, but if I take him out, it should be agreed that my side is the favored for the season….

    Back OT: Wunsacon…I’m not sure if we’ve had a eco-disaster similar to the Dust Bowl…hurricanes are sort of one-off deals that affect smaller areas….that who Dust Bowl deal affected a huge area over several years…I”m sure someone will be able to come up with some great examples to counter that….but I can’t think of any late at night now…

  89. impermanence says:

    It would be difficult to believe that somebody with a book on the NY Times best seller list would perceive that we are in a depression. There is no question Barry, YOU are not in a depression.

    Please remember that the majority of Americans have been getting trashed over the past four decades. It matters not what you call it. Intellectualize, rationalize, hypothesize, define it any way you wish, but there are millions of families in this country seriously suffering, who do not spend time chatting with strangers over whose Ferrari is whose.

    Barry, sometimes you seem really out of touch with the average person.

  90. HarryWanger says:

    Mannwich: you forgot to mention that you’re obviously a classy guy. LOL!

  91. karen says:

    Cvienne, don’t torture me with esoterics. (i can make up words, right.) personally, i would like to be wrong about my current negative outlook; but I think jobs are all important and I just don’t see exciting growth in that area.. negative growth, actually..

  92. danm says:

    Barry has done an amazing job of seeing the crisis coming, but not getting stuck focusing on the same story as so many who saw it coming have
    ———-
    Sorry. He still thinks the economy is crap. Only he understands there’s a difference between the economy and the markets.

  93. CNBC Sucks says:

    Jeff, good job working the FF angle in without going OT. That’s the way you can sneak a side discussion in without making Mount Ritholtz blow up.

    Ritholtz – Hi there. I have been calling you “Mr. Big Head” on your namesake fantasy football league, because SOMETIMES it appears fame has gotten to your head. It’s not a criticism; far be it for me to criticize a fellow megalomaniac. You don’t mind, do you?

  94. Trainwreck says:

    In the long run I would prefer to have BR in my corner over Mish. What Mish is proscribing is a doomsday scenario, and he hates governments doing anything to support our economy. His view is a do nothing view, and I prefer a do something view, even if it might not be perfect. I think that the masses will agree with me over Mish. This might create increadable uncertainty for time to come, and that might mean the price of gold and other paranoid commodities will rise. But my view of markets is that a stallion can be a wonderful horse to follow, and stare at, but at some point that stallion needs to be broken. That is our markets, and we need to understand that at some point the stallion can’t be let to run amok, and needs to be broken. Bring out the whip and the lash. Tame that horse and ride it.

  95. cvienne says:

    @The Great CNBC Sucks

    Glad to make your acquaintance AGAIN… on this thread…

    Anyway… BR… It’s a GREAT Thread… Probably the best one I remember being part of since I fell upon this site in March or April of this year…

    For ALL OF YOU… Good luck… Excellent comments, insights, & opinions…

    For all of you in TBP Fantasy Football (especially – The Great CNBC Sucks – who I play in Week 1 and has a monster team & has prepared himself in a MONSTER way for success in Week 1)… Good Luck as well…

  96. “..Society and its constructs (economies, bureaucracies, banks, governments, corporations, etc) are not engineering marvels which follow “laws.” They are living beasts which are only understood through the eyes of the open minded who are willing to sit with uncertainty..”
    –laughingAllTheWay

    Nice Point~

    “Barry has done an amazing job of seeing the crisis coming, but not getting stuck focusing on the same story as so many who saw it coming have.”
    x2

    BR is a quality Thinker, and an excellent Trader. Broad-mindedness and varied interests are key Staples.

  97. cvienne says:

    @Andy T

    Anecdotally – China is experiencing the same “land mismanagement” DUSTBOWL issues that the US faced in the depression era…

    …an eerie co-incidence!

    It came down to the failure of maintaining the fertile topsoil level (an issue that I’m keenly aware of on my farm)… It affects weather patterns… It’s happening in China as we speak…

  98. mobiaxis says:

    @HarryWanger

    A pessimist is simply a well informed optimist