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FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

The Great “Depression”

Economics / Economic Depression Nov 15, 2010 - 03:10 AM GMT

By: Howard_Katz

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleToday I would like to continue my discussion of the (so-called) Great Depression as this is the giant lie which is behind most of the other economic lies which have deceived so many people and cost them so much money.

What is a depression?  It is a period in a country’s economic history where the large majority of the people become poorer.  It is alleged that such a period occurred in the early 1930s.  I have pointed out previously that Economic Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, reports that during this period Americans shifted from margarine to butter.  They increased their per capita meat consumption (from 129 lb to 144 lb.).  And they gave (substantially) more to charity.  Further, real wages rose during this period, and the savings of the average American increased in value (buying power) by 30%.  This does not sound like a getting poorer to me.


Let us examine the increase in buying power of the average American’s savings.  In the early 1930s, the average American saved and had been saving since interest was legalized (by Noah Webster) in the 1780s.  Given an average interest rate of 5% (normal through the 19th century and up until 1933) the average person’s savings would multiply by 4.25 times over the course of his working lifetime.

Average annual wages in manufacturing in America for 1933 were $1,086.  At first glance, this sounds like a small amount of money, but one must bear in mind that in early 1933 the country was on the gold standard, and prices were much lower than they are today.  In 1933, a new car could be purchased for $400.  A two bedroom apartment (San Francisco) could be rented for $25/mo.  And a gallon of gas cost a dime.  (That dime, by the way, was .075 oz. of silver, which exchanges today for $1.95.)

But I have not found that the careful recitation of statistics has much effect on believers in the Great Depression.  The more dispassionate and factual I become the more emotional they become.  “But, Mr. Katz, what about the bread lines?  What about 25% unemployment?  Have you no heart, Mr. Katz.

Actually, I do have a heart.  It is the defenders of the Great Depression who lack common humanity because the lies of the Great Depression are carefully calculated to defend the interests of the rich and powerful and injure the common man.  Let us examine a little history.

There was a phenomenon very similar to the “depression” of the 1930s in the period 1873-79.  Prominent businessmen (e.g., Jay Cooke) went bankrupt.  Unemployment was high, and prices declined.

And yet, the party in power (the Republicans) were not kicked out of office in the 1876 election.  Nobody seemed to know that America was in a depression.  The unemployment was absorbed fairly rapidly by the free economy, and America went on to have the greatest economy in the world for the last 3rd of the 19th century.  At the same time, millions of immigrants flooded into America because, in America, the streets were paved with gold.

The correct name for such a phenomenon is a credit contraction.  You have heard the expression, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”  Well, a credit contraction is a period when many people seem to heed that advice.  It may be good for some people in the country and bad for others, but there is no clear cut harm or benefit to the country as a whole.

What caused the money/credit contraction of the 1870s was the money/credit expansion of the Civil War.  The two periods were directly opposite.  During the Civil War prices rose rapidly.  During the 1870s prices fell.  During the Civil War stocks went up.  During the 1870s stocks went down.  During the Civil War both real wages and unemployment fell.  During the 1870s both real wages and unemployment rose.

Well after these events there was another war (World War I) and the Civil War scenario repeated itself.  During the war prices rose and both real wages and unemployment fell.  Notice the role that unemployment plays in this.  Unemployment goes down precisely when real wages go down.  For this reason, if someone wants to lie to you, then unemployment makes a very good statistic.  A decline in unemployment makes it easy to feign sympathy for the working man, while you are lowering his wages.  It is a perfect statistic if you have an intent to deceive because it takes a complex of data and oversimplifies it.  If we take a credit expansion, such as the Civil War or World War I, then this benefits the unsympathetic  characters of our society (the banks and Wall Street).  By replacing this complex (and correct) analysis with the oversimplified statistic of unemployment, this allows one to pose as the friend of the working man even as one is trying to lower his wages.

For example, I mentioned that average annual earnings in manufacturing in 1933 were $1086.  (See, Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970, Series D, 740.)  But since at that time the dollar was approximately 1/20 ounce of gold (25.8 grains of gold, 9/10 fine as defined by the Gold Standard Act of 1900), $1086 was 54 ounces of gold.   But of course you all know that this past Tuesday 54 ounces of gold had a value of $1400 x 54 = $75,600.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average wages in the U.S. for October of this year were $47,216, about 5/8 of wages in the Great “depression.”  In words of one syllable, in the middle of The Depression the average working man was making almost double what he makes today.
In early 1933, the average American worker was receiving 54 ounces of gold per year.  If he saved 15% of this, he was saving a bit over 8 ounces of gold per year.  Assume that the average worker had accumulated 25 years of savings (half of an average working lifetime) or 200 oz. of gold, and this would have approximately doubled due to accumulated interest at 5% over 25 years.  Thus the average American working man had savings of 400 ounces of gold (in 1933). 

But remember that these savings increased in value (due to the appreciation of the currency by 30% from 1930-33.  That is, the average American worker received an additional 120 ounces of gold (almost 2½ years income) over these 3 years without doing any extra work.  This was, of course, money which had been stolen from him during World War I (when prices doubled) and given to the paper aristocracy (courtesy of the Democrats).  In words of one syllable, the Democrats were the party of the banks and Wall Street (despite their loud protestations to the contrary).

The Republicans, on the other hand, were the party of the common man.  These idiots who pretend to be economists today do not even know that what they call “The Great Depression” was a deliberately planned event.  It was planned by the Republican Party of 1919.  At that time, prices had just doubled (from 1914 to 1919).  Both the savings and the buying power of the average working man had fallen in half over these 5 years and given to the bankers (principally J.P. Morgan, who had fomented U.S. entry into World War I) and Wall Street.  (The DJI approximately doubled from 1914 to 1919.)  The Republicans saw that this stolen wealth had to be returned to its rightful owners, the working people of America.  And they devised a policy to do this.  Increase the value of the U.S. dollar back to its level of 1914.  In other words, reduce prices in the country from their 1919 level to their 1914 level.  Since cigars had risen in price from 5¢ to 10¢ from 1914 to 1919 and since the smoke-filled room was an institution of the day (the dangers of smoking being unknown), this was referred to as the policy of “a good 5¢ cigar.”

In other words, what the idiot Bernanke refers to as a mistake was a deliberate, conscious policy.  It was humane policy (designed to help the working man), and it worked.  By 1933, prices in the U.S. had returned to their 1914 level.  (This, by the way, was the same price level, according to the Wholesale Price Index, as had obtained in 1793 – 140 years of price stability.)  This was hard on Wall Street, but it was for the good of the American working man.  (Stocks lost 90% of their value from 1929 to 1932.)

The Republicans were confident that their policy would be politically popular because it had been politically popular in the 1870s.   The Republicans were reelected in 1876, right in the middle of the “depression,” and remained the dominant political party by standing against rising prices and for the gold standard (Tea Party members take note).

What happened in 1932 was that the media of the U.S. swallowed a giant pack of lies (taken mostly from Marxism) and perpetrated this on the American people.  The media of that day played both sides of the fence.  They represented the interests of the paper aristocracy and then portrayed themselves as supporters of the working class.  To this day, people do not know that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a Wall Streeter who ran a vulture fund in the 1920s.  A vulture fund is a (mutual) fund which swoops down on dying companies and gobbles them up.  A “traitor to his class?”  That was a deliberate and conscious lie.

Stories of bread lines and soup kitchens were part of the propaganda of the day.  Remember, this was the era which saw Adolf Hitler get elected in Germany.  It was not a proud moment in the history of the world.  You have all been taught that Wall Streeters were jumping off buildings after the crash of 1929.  What a bunch of malarkey.  First, the 1929 crash was caused by Herbert Hoover (who hated free enterprise).  He had the Fed choke off brokers’ loans, thus forcing stock speculators to dump their holdings.  Second, I have researched the supposed wave of suicides in the wake of the crash.  IT NEVER HAPPENED.  There was no increase in suicides in late 1929 for New York State and no increase for the nation as a whole.  There are always some suicides, of course.  In a nation this big, you can find a few of anything, but there was no wave of suicides out of the ordinary.  IT WAS A CONSCIOUS AND DELIBERATE LIE.

We can see the same kind of media lies today.  You all know that in every village and hamlet today there are pharmacies telling you to get your flu shot.  First, the government is involved because it pays the vaccine companies (an outrageous sum) for the vaccine.  Second, in 2009 there was a campaign of lies in which the predicted swine flu for 2010 was wildly exaggerated and called a pandemic (a made up word).  Not only did the pandemic fail to happen, flu deaths for 2010 are running one-third normal.  That is, there was no problem, but instead of investigating the waste of money we are simply getting more lies to get rid of the last batch of flu shots which the public refused to take.  Third, the vaccine itself is dangerous, containing mercury and aluminum, and it is far more likely that more people were killed by the vaccine than were ever saved by it.  (My mother was killed by an earlier-day flu campaign and shot, which gave her a heart attack and led to her death.)  I call this to your attention to illustrate just how naïve and gullible the average person is and how incapable of acting in their own self interest.

America was not this way for the period 1776-1929, but it is now.  This is the world into which you were born.  Those who see reality as it is have a chance, but this is a small minority.

Now what is Ben Bernanke, the apostle of the “Great Depression,” going to do?  He is going to serve the interest of the paper aristocracy.  He is going to print money as never before in American history.  (Note, the Coinage Act of 1792 carries the death penalty for debasement of the currency.)  From mid-2008 to the projected end of QE2, the U.S. money supply will have approximately tripled, and, after a lag, I expect average prices to do the same.  You know what this will do to the price of gold.  At this writing, commodity prices (as given by the [real] CRB index) are close to a new all-time high.  This is an end to another lie, the New York Times’ fabrication that we are on the verge of a “deflation.”  One after another, like the layers of an onion, these lies dominate our age, and if one does not wish to be destroyed by them, one must see reality as it is.

The One-handed Economist took a new position in its letter of Sept. 17, 2010 shifting its commodity holdings from gold to silver.  Another change of position is in a special bulletin issued Nov. 10, 2010.  However, since this is so recent, in order to learn the contents a subscriber must cross my palm with silver.  (See below.)

To help you see reality as it is, I publish a fortnightly (every two weeks) newsletter, The One-handed Economist.  You may subscribe by visiting my web site, www.thegoldspeculator.com, and hitting the Pay Pal button ($300).  Or you may send $290 ($10 cash discount) to: The One-handed Economist, 614 Nashua St. #122, Milford, N.H. 03055. 

Thank you for your interest.


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