The Great Depression Online

Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
November 26, 2010

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** Resisting Temptation
*** Things Happen
*** Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
*** And More

Resisting Temptation

What a life editing the GDO is.  As you well know, we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy delving into the bleak and dreary world of financial crises and economic depressions.

What kind of person pursues such a dismal avocation?

Only the most ungrateful grumbler would take this job, you’d think. 

Not that we are…or at least we don’t think we are.  So why do we do it?

Do we take delight in the misery of others?  Do we feel superior to our neighbors when they lose their house or their job?  Do we get a thrill when we can wag our finger and say “I told you so”?

~~~~~~The Next Crisis is Here~~~~~~

United Straits of America: The Muni Bond Crisis Is Here

This November, the whole world tuned in as the greater part of the U.S.A’s 50 states turned red – and no, I don’t mean the political shift to a republican majority during the November 2 mid-term elections.  I mean “in the res” – as in, financial fercockt, overdrawn, up to their eyeballs in debt.

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Well of course not.  We’re not that smug.

We do it, on the other hand, because we know we are no better or no worse than our fellow man.  While we don’t want to be, we know we are in fact just as susceptible to being swept up in man’s collective follies and destructive delusion as the next guy.

We’re human, after all.  We may try to resist the temptation to do something foolish, but we can hardly help ourselves.

Things Happen

When we look around and see seemingly intelligent individuals do seemingly reckless things – financially or otherwise – our interest is sparked.  We want to learn from their actions so we can avoid their mistakes.  Likewise, we know there are many things in this world beyond our control and beyond our comprehension. 

We recognize, as Donald Rumsfeld so aptly put it, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.  We understand that we don’t understand how complex systems entirely work.  Moreover, we know that our own misfortune is just one random event away.

Things happen.  One day you’ve got the world by the tail.  The next day the world kicks you to the curb. 

So why not plan for the worst and hope for the best?  This seems like a good way to go to us.  Plus it is our desire that our investigations help you do the same.

But today we pause from our usual dreary inquiries.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, after all.  And here at the GDO we’re thankful for many things.  That is the motivation for what follows…

Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell

Charle Street, in Costa Mesa, California, is a home for desperate men…where lifesaving ego deflation is administered, hope is born, and miracles come to pass every day.  If you happen to find yourself there you are in dire need of what Carl Jung first called “a spiritual experience.”

Stenciled on the meeting room wall is one of life’s essential axioms…

“Grateful people are happy people and those that aren’t, aren’t.”

The meaning of this is quite simple to understand.  Yet its outcome, for those willing to practice it, is quite significant.  For with just a little daily gratitude even the most down and out discover there’s always something to be happy about.  And even in difficult times, there are always things to be grateful for, if just a moment is taken to consider them.

Thanksgiving Day is a time to offer thanks, gather with family, and have a satisfying feast.  When asked, our soon to be 4-year old son told us, “I’m thankful for toys.” 

Here at the GDO we’re thankful for toys too…and much more.  We’re thankful for what we’ve been given and, more importantly, for what has been taken away.

Family joined us yesterday to give thanks.  We gathered around the table.  We ate.  And when we were done eating…we ate some more.  And we were thankful, grateful, and happy.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

P.S.  One of the most vulnerable sectors of the debt markets is the municipal bond market.  Instead of being a source of state and local funding, many residents have become a cost. Default could hit at any moment…

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