The Great Depression brought the prosperous American empire to its knees. Money and industry dried up almost overnight, along with the nation’s food resources.
It was the worst time to be an American.
The probability of a similar economic disaster shaking this nation again is not as low as you might imagine.
Sure, there are new checks and balances – “safety valves” to ensure the US stock market can’t crash as quickly as it did in 1929. But even as recently as 2008, America’s economy was badly shaken and sank once again via The Great Recession.
The next economic fall could match or exceed that of The Great Depression.
Today we’ll examine some lessons we can take from the Great Depression. History often repeats itself, and the best way to avoid past suffering is to learn from the mistakes of our fore bearers – and try to prepare ourselves for harder times yet to come.
The first lesson to tackle is the dangerous myth of “job security.”
Economic depression is a vicious cycle, where businesses are not selling their inventories because people are not buying. In a depression, all businesses will immediately start downsizing their staff of employees to help offset their future drop in revenues. The weaker businesses will find massive layoffs are not enough. They can’t keep the doors open, and everyone who works for them is out of a job.
This downward cycle ushered in the era of The Great Depression.
Unemployment rates skyrocketed. The unemployed masses spent their remaining savings on only the bare essentials (i.e. food, rent) until even those dollars ran out.
After that, many were left with shanty towns and food lines as their only remaining options.
Even if you think your job is secure, are you 100% certain?
Let’s image that your company does survive but to do so must layoff a few employees from each department. How can you be certain you won’t be among those few?
If you’re a relatively young employee, you might be let go because hey “you’ll land on your feet”. If you’re a more seasoned employee, cutting your salary will make a bigger difference to a struggling business’s bottom line.
You can’t assume how these things will shake out…
In stable times, people like to talk about their “job security”. They fool themselves into believing that their job or their industry can weather any storm. It’s a sucker’s bet.
Instead, you should assume you could lose your job at any time in an instant and live, plan and prepare accordingly.
As times got tougher during the Great Depression, people got more desperate. People who could not afford to feed themselves or their families forced to more extreme means of providing or risk starvation.
Organized crime took off like a rocket ship. The mobs in New York and California became some of the wealthiest organizations in the country because of their control of the liquor smuggling operations.
Desperate times call for desperate measures surviving The Great Depression. A father or mother with starving children will abandon their morals and steal from others.
This brings us to another Great Depression lesson; self-defense is crucial in tough times. You should assume your resources will come under attack. Especially if you’ve stockpiled food, vital supplies, and resources others want. Get prepared to protect what’s yours.
Another lesson we can take from the Great Depression is diversify your skill set. Many of the previous well-off families were forced into lives of extreme poverty. As the cushy jobs vanished and monetary assets tanked, people who had no real useful skills suffered the most.
Previously wealthy parents, watched in horror as their children died of starvation or illnesses they could not afford to fight off.
Mothers and fathers died by sacrificing their own needs for their children, leaving their children alone, to fend for themselves.
When times get tough, you’ll need to figure out how to scratch out a living. Learn how to provide an essential service to others and trade or barter for it.
Figure out how to secure critical resources and turn those into necessary goods or services. It’s best if you acquire those self-reliant survival skills today. If you wait, it may be too late.
Remember, we’re all in this together,