Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Great Panic of 1837: Required Reading

--Especially for those who would lead us. But what ARE
our politicians and financiers reading? Not American
history, certainly. Anyone acquainted with Andrew Jackson's
witless deregulation of the banks or his dismantling of
the Central Bank can recall what came next--rampant
speculation and a recession--er, a depression, ah, NO,
an actual economic panic, one of the two or three worst
in U.S. history.

Fast forward to the late 1920's, ANOTHER largely deregulated
era in the U.S., wild speculation, and--the Great Depression
of the 1930's. Franklin Roosevelt luckily heeded his gifted
advisers, enacting the two key banking acts of 1933 and 1934,
otherwise known as Glass-Steagall. These regs remained in force
until the end of Clinton's term, when Sen. Phil Gramm and his
cohorts persuaded the starry-eyed greedy in Congress to allow
Glass-Steagall to expire, citing modern times, a different, new
economic reality, what could go wrong, etc. Exotic financial
"instruments" grew like irradiated dandelions gone wild, and
voila, the Great Recession of 2008-20--.

It's deeply dispiriting, to see that, basically, people never
learn, or at best, do not permanently retain valuable lessons.
How then, will civilization ever evolve or even survive? Are
humans just like silly deer overpopulating and overeating in
the forest, oblivious of the consequences to tomorrow?

Sans the required reading, and heeding, I fear we are.


  1. Want to help get Andy off the twenty?

  2. Noooooooooooooo! They'll want to put St. Ronnie on it! (or worser)

    We tend to learn from history until it's re-written to suit. Then, as now, there are people who know and remember, but can't break through.

    Sadly, eventually the lesson is re-taught, re-learned and the cycle begins anew.