Thursday, March 19, 2015

The view from Down Under

This is almost a throwaway line, but worth repeating:

The Panic of 1837 was one of those cyclical catastrophes that occur every few decades to remind the citizens of the United States that wealth isn't created by mass investment in paper promises.
It's from John Bailey in his outstanding "The Lost German Slave Girl."

He got a couple things wrong. First, until the New Deal reforms, the catastrophes came a lot oftener than every few decades. More like every 7 years, with the longest gap 15 years (1907-21).

The reminders haven't worked. The rightwing half of the country will not even acknowledge that these catastrophes happened. (Some go so far as to admire them.)

It is also not true that letting these dips find their own bottoms leads to a stronger recovery in less time. That was not the case after the Panic of '37, or of the others either.

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