Surviving a Great Depression–Then and Now

Are we living through another Great Depression? Is the anxiety we all seem to be feeling based in reality? Are we getting too much negative media hype?

On the other hand, are we not hearing enough about what’s really happening?

My personal conclusion is that we are indeed in a depression, but we’re not yet in the depts of the 1930’s depression. However, I believe we are rapidly heading that way, and things could very well be worse this time.

What we’ve experienced since 2008 has been widespread, abrupt and dramatic. One key difference from the first Great Depression is that today we’re experiencing bank failures from the top down. In addition, a greater percentage of the population is invested in the stock market compared to that earlier time, due to retirement plans, mutual funds, etc.

Unlike that earlier time, we’re involved in military actions, which has a significant economic impact. How many times have you heard the notion that war is good for the economy?

Also, we don’t have the same moral standards and character or community life. We’re far more dependent on government, thanks in part to FDR’s New Deal during that first Great Depression.

With so many comparisons being made between present times and the Great Depression, I thought it would be a good idea to get some perspective on life during that previous time. How did our grandparents or great grandparents survive?

To explore answers to these and other questions, Get Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940: How Americans Lived Through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, By David E. Kyvig. It’s easy to read, and it covers a broad variety of areas of everyday life in the 1920’s through the 1930’s. For example, the advent of movies, radio and widespread advertising shaped habits and attitudes as never before in our country’s history.

Other technological advances greatly affected both urban and rural life, often helping to standardize American culture. Kyvig discusses factors that brought about the greater availability of credit, such as for the purchase of a new car.

I could go on, but if you want to see life before Social Security and widespread government intervention, and how life and attitudes toward these changed, I recommend this book. It’s surprisingly comprehensive. Obviously Kyvig can’t go in depth as much as he could have, otherwise his book would be an encyclopedia. For those who want to explore certain areas of interest further, there are numerous sources cited in the bibliography.

Click on the book’s title wherever you see it linked in this post. That opens a new window to a page where it’s featured. Get Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940. Prepare your mind for a future that holds things we’ve experienced in the past.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

3 thoughts on “Surviving a Great Depression–Then and Now”

  1. I agree we are in the early stages of a depression. Right now it is nowhere near as bad as the Great Depression. But that I suspect will change. We are in a slow slide into the Greater Depression and I suspect it will just keep getting worse and worse…

  2. Another great book on the Great Depression is Hard Times, by Studs Terkel. Told from the point of view of the folks who lived through it.

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