Thursday, December 15, 2011

If history becomes prophecy, we could be in for a 25 year recession


1. Under a newly adopted monetary system, the rest of Europe gets flooded with the wealthy Germany's money.

2. Deregulation of the financial markets was substantial and widespread.

3. Greece and Italy struggle under a new monetary union and France struggles to keep that union together.

4. Great strides in efficiencies of production and communication thanks to new technologies lead to displacement and upheaval of the labor forces.

5. A massive new industrial power floods the markets with cheap manufactured goods, kind of like China has been doing for the past decade.

6. One country's markets spectacularly crash, bringing down the rest of Europe followed by after shocks across the Atlantic in New York.

Eurozone circa 2011, right?  Well, maybe, but fill in Germany instead of China and the above is a perfect description of the Long Recession of 1873.  And it lasted 25 years.  I read a great article in Marketwatch and I must admit the parallels are down right eerie:

The Long Depression of the 19th century had its roots in financial speculation, technological change, and the arrival of a massive new player in the global economy.

In the US, from 1873-1879, 18,000 businesses went bankrupt, including hundreds of banks, and ten states went bankrupt, while unemployment peaked at 14% in 1876, long after the panic ended.  Yeesh!  Let's hope the similarities are not too close to today's economic quagmire.

No comments: