The Great Depression Online

Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

The Law of Must and Shall

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
February 17, 2009

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** Is it Now Time to Stockpile Food?
*** La Vida Loca
*** The Law of Must and Shall
*** And More

Is it Now Time to Stockpile Food?

“If you like to eat, you better save some [food],” was the advice of one Thelma May Beets in a front page story titled “Depression Lessons Last for a Lifetime,” in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times.  The 91 year-old widow, who’d come of age during the Great Depression, was doing her weekly inventory of food she stocks in a chest by her bed. 

Sugar, pasta, soup, oats, crackers, peanut butter jars, ground coffee, creamers…she “has long kept some food in the chest, but as the latest recession has deepened, she’s made a point of keeping it full.”

Another Great Depression ‘survivor,’ Lemuel Arthur Lewie Jr., offered some memories from the 1930’s too.  His father was a dentist.  And Arthur remembered how he “began to notice that things were different when patients stopped paying cash.  ‘They’d bring hams, chickens, things like that, for us,”’ he said.

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Arthur also recalled that “sections of the lawn were replaced with rows of tomato plants, cabbage and collard greens.”

La Vida Loca

After reading the LA Times story, between edging the yard and cutting the grass, we considered the possibility of having to replace sections of our lawn with rows of planted vegetables.  Anything’s possible, we concluded.

For when we started this newsletter in fall 2007, we didn’t know if we were headed for another great depression.  But we considered it a possibility.  Like that of getting in a fatal car accident, sure it’s possible…though not likely.

What we did know, was that we’d just witnessed a decade – or more – of a world growing increasingly at odds with itself…

…people buying $4 coffees in paper cups.

…college kids driving European luxury cars.

…house prices that doubled, and then doubled again; with median income earners lining up to buy them like funnel cakes at the county fair.

…millionaires next door…affluence…granite counter tops…condos in Vale Colorado

…day traders…condo flippers…loan brokers…futures speculators…gamblers – all getting rich, all living the more abundant life.

…the profusion of so called high rollers…the celebration of excess…of living la vida loca.

Yet while everyone appeared to be getting rich, the national median income hardly budged.  In fact, data from the U.S. Census Bureau tell us that, when adjusting for inflation, the national median income increased just $2,568 between 1997 and 2007…from $47,665 to $50,233. 

The Law of Must and Shall

A 5-percent increase in median income could hardly be the catalyst for what appeared to be a vast explosion of wealth.  This incongruity of supposed wealth in the appearance of massive consumption verses individual incomes brought us to the logical question...

Where was all the money coming from?

By now you know, as well as we know, it was all an illusion of wealth made possible by an ever expanding bubble of debt.

And by the law of must and shall: What must happen; shall happen.

In other words, something had to give…and inevitably it did.

So now that this debt bubble’s burst, and we’re now in the early days of the Great Depression II, the government desperately attempting to pump it back up.  That’s what these bailouts and stimulus bills are all about…pumping the system full of more debt. 

But as we’ll soon discover, you can’t solve a problem that was created by too much debt…by piling on more debt.  The futility is painfully obvious.

Yet the blockheads in D.C. go about it like zealot donkeys…they pile on more and more debt with the pathological stubbornness of jack and jenny asses.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

P.S.  The debt problem’s so bad our friend James Davidson calls it America’s Swirling Black Hole of Debt.  And he’s identified how you can take advantage of the economic downturn to quickly build a legacy of wealth.  We’ll have details on this extraordinary opportunity Friday.


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