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These days you can’t get news from any source without hearing something about the economy.  Our economic tribulations are at the forefront of everyone’s mind.  And as the pundits continue to argue about whether or not we are in a recovery, how we can combat the scourge of unemployment, and who is to blame for the whole mess the rest of us are left wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.  That’s the real problem with this sort of economic situation, the uncertainty.  You worry about your job.  You worry about your home.  You just flat-out worry.  But, despite the trials of today’s fiscal realities there have been darker days.

Today, for instance.  Well, not today in the present sense, bit today as in the 81 years ago sense.

October 29, 1929.  Black Tuesday.

There are plenty of legends about Black Tuesday.  They say brokers were throwing themselves from their windows on Wall Street among other things.  Most of these are just that, legends.  But, even if brokers weren’t raining from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, panic was gripping the nation in its icy grip.  Over the course of two days, Black Monday and Black Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 25%.  $30 billion dollars was lost.

And this was in 1929.  Adjusted for today’s values that would be like the market dropping over $372 billion in two days.

Those two black days marked the beginning of an economic crisis so severe that conjuring its name is enough to instill fear in the populace.  When we hear that a crisis could rival The Great Depression an electric jolt of panic flashes through us for a moment.  Even though the numbers of those who lived through that time is dwindling, the event left a scar on the psyche of our nation that will never truly heal.  That time, that catastrophe will haunt the memories of our children’s children.

We learned much from Black Tuesday and the years that followed.  Brilliant minds have examined the factors that led to the collapse and have worked to keep it from happening again.  But, the truth is that the real reasons behind it were the same as the ones behind our current economic woes.  Man is greedy and Man is obsessed with the short path to riches.

It doesn’t truly matter whose fault it is.  One side will blame George W. Bush and his cronies, stating that it was his policies that pulled us down.  The other side will blame short-sighted lawmaking during the Clinton years exacerbated by the policies of the Obama administration.  The truth of the matter is that greed once again won out and once again everyone is reaping what powerful men and women sowed.

In times like this we are unhappy much of the time.  And I think Douglas Adams said it best when it comes to unhappiness and money.

Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn’t the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy.

Perhaps, someday we will learn.

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