I wouldn’t know what one looks like so who am I to question someone who has lived through an actual depression (via Richard Russell):
“The signs are growing. I can see the signs in the number of vagrants in La Jolla and south in Pacific Beach. As I drive by I see little clusters of men and women (mostly men) huddled in doorways or sitting in the bushes beside the roads. These are vagrants, always a sign of a severe recession. Men holding cardboard signs stand by the side of the road. The signs read, “Vet needs work.” or “Single mom needs food for her three children.”
Where do these people live? I wonder, where do they sleep? How do they have the energy to stand in the blaring sun all day with their cardboard signs?
But they are the signs of hard times. I’ve seen them before — in the 1930s. Today they are pushing shopping carts around the city, carts filled with junk — old blankets, tin cans, old toys, anything, it seems to fill up their carts.
These are the remnants of society, the “leftovers.” How do they survive, I keep wondering. And it scares me. These are people who have lost everything. And it is spreading. On Wall Street they’re “taking it to the streets.” But these people are being shoved into the streets and the alleys and the bushes of every town in the US.
And I think, “But why La Jolla?” And the answer is that “Nobody ever froze to death in La Jolla.”
I’ve seen them weather the nights in NYC. Some sleep on top of the subway grills where warm air is pushed up from below. Some sleep on the steps of churches where the chances of being robbed are slim. Others sleep under slabs of cardboard, which are fashioned into little huts.
The signs of hard times are all about, but will it get harder? It all brings back bad memories of the 1930s. And to tell you the truth I’m scared.
And above it all stands Wall Street with its giant buildings and it heart of concrete. No wonder they hate the Street most when hard times arrive.”
Source: Dow Theory Letters
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.