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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Post #100: Hang onto your kettle!

There's a heartening anecdote from the Depression, and an old (2002) article from ThisIsMoney repeats it. 2002, you may remember, was gloomy for investors, and the article looks back to 70 years earlier. Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the market took three years to hit bottom, and in 1932 investors were losing hope:

...In New York's patrician Union League Club, members amused themselves by wallpapering an entire room with now 'worthless' stock certificates.

...Bear markets usually end when people have given up all interest in the market. By the later 1930s, members of new York's Union League club were holding kettles to the wall to steam off their stock certificates. They had become valuable again.

Some would say that a bear market has already recommenced, but it's disguised by monetary inflation. The dollar and pound figures distract us from the loss of real value, and the world economy continues to be mismanaged while the temporary fixes hold. Financial history suggests we should prepare for crisis, but also for eventual recovery.

UPDATE:

ThisIsMoney seems to have got the first date wrong (it was March 1934), also the city (Chicago, not NY) and missed out a very vivid follow-up! See the contemporary Time article here.

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