May 17, 2010

The Great Depression 2010 - Are We There Yet?

Image: "Migrant Mother" by D. Lange,
(colorized version)
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
In London's TimesOnline yesterday, columnist Minette Martin warned that England must prepare to live once again as it did during the years surrounding World War Two - she labels it as "austerity chic." Her column, "Waste Not, Want Not: here comes the new austerity chic," is worth the read.

Ms. Martin discusses how those of the 1930s and 1940s kept their frugal habits through the remainder of their lives, and how the realities of debt and unemployment in Great Britian today will be forcing its citizens into a new area of "austerity."  She encourages her readers to "embrace the new thrift," and how this can actually be a good thing. 

But here's the clincher:  this well-respected journalist in an internationally renowned publication actually uses the word "poor" -- which is, of course, the terror striking the hearts of so many right now. 

The Great Depression - Is It Here Already?

There's actually a website that is devoted to "The Great Depression 2010."  It describes itself as a "chronicle" of those events that mark the United States' descent into another Great Depresssion.  In 2008, experts were already discussing another Great Depression by 2011.  Heck, Wikipedia has an article entitled, "the Financial Crisis of 2007-2010," and it's pretty detailed and worth your time, if you're into the economic aspects of this thing.

However, in answer to my question, it the depression here already, I am looking not at discussions of the evil that is Goldman Sachs, or bubbles, or the impact of Japan or China or India or Mexico upon our country.

Are We Doomed to be (gasp) Poor?

Instead, I'm looking around me at what I see in my world - as I've done before.  And, I don't think we're there yet, at least in San Antonio, Texas.  Depressed, maybe, but it's not "Great" -- yet.  But I think we're gonna see it, and maybe that means within the next 6 months. 

It's bad here, don't get me wrong.  Lotsa empty store fronts and hungry people.  However, this weekend as I drove past the North Star Mall, its parking lot was still full to the brim.  People are still buying designer labels and fine jewelry (just watch HSN or QVC), and this morning I got an email from a new Mustang Island condo development telling me to get in now, before prices go up as the economy continues to recover! 

Frogs in a Pot

Reminds me of that story of how to kill frogs.  If you try to put them in a pot of boiling water, they'll fight you and try to avoid the plunge.  However, if you put them in a pot of tepid water and then let the heat slowly rise, those frogs won't be smart enough to jump out of the pot.  They'll literally sit there and get boiled alive.

What To Do About It

Living simply isn't stupid or lazy or crazy, although I've been called all three.  It's smart.  It's wise. And, it's fun and peaceful and really quite nice. 

Which means that I agree with the conclusions of Minette Martin yesterday -- the New Poor may discover that they will be much happier living without all that Stuff  though they're not willing it to consider just yet.  Right now, Denial remains something that is much more than a river in Egypt.
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