Sunday, September 28, 2008

After the Crash: America in the Great Depression - John Rublowsky (1970)

This is one of the books I've read this weekend. I was following his arguments - not really AGREEING, but FOLLOWING - until the last chapter when he says that an economic crash can't happen again for various reasons which already gave me serious misgivings about this guy's sanity.

And then I read the following statement at the beginning of this last chapter and my eyes popped out and I fell over dead.

"The most obvious difference [between 1929 and now (1970)] can be seen in the existence of a powerful, well-organized labor force. In 1929 the initial impact of the depression was experienced in the form of layoffs and wage cuts by working people. This loss of purchasing power on the part of the great bulk of the population forced the economy deeper into depression in a cycle that became almost impossible to break." [ok I'm following so far]

"Labor would no longer allow itself to serve as a cushion for national disaster as it did in 1929. At that time, the labor union movement was weak and ineffective. It could not prevent the wholesale firing of production workers and the drastic cutting of wages that proved to be one of the most serious sources of weakness in the 1929 economy. Today labor unions are too strong and too well-organized to permit the same kind of mass layoffs and firings. Labor, organized into a powerful political force, provides a prop to the economy that did not exist before the 1929 crash."

SERIOUSLY?!?! Did you seriously put that thought in writing, Mr. Rublowsky?

1 comment:

Chris C said...

So wait. Since we can't lay anybody off, the crash won't occur? Is that what I'm reading?

So, we'll keep paying people even though the company can't afford it, which will cause said company to go completely under instead of just shrinking.

Ohhhhh K!