|Schloss Co. Winter 1928-29|
I look at this ad and with the virtue (or curse) of hindsight I feel more than a little sad. This is a cutting from the Baltimore Schloss Co. catalog, winter 1928-29. At the time this ad was printed times were good, people could afford to dress well and have the finer things in life. Little did they know that 10 months later their world was about to come crashing down... literally. The 1929 stock market crash wiped out many Americans who had foolishly put their life savings into buying stocks on credit (margin) at a fraction of their real value. As long as the price went up everything was good. Unfortunately though the magic of a global economy, a default on a debt in Europe sparked a panic in the markets that was to usher in the great Depression.
Little have we learned from those days though. Anyone who is a student of economics or history will know that the real bubble in the 1920's was land. The real estate markets were booming with all the cheap land available in Florida. That came to a halt as early as 1926 when a ship caught fire and sank in Miami harbor exposing the weakness of the trade routes through that city. The rest of the housing market softened in early '28 leading to a precipitous rise in the stock market as investors sought the next big get rich quick scheme.
Much of this has been mirrored almost to the year in our own time. A weakness in the housing market in 2008 led to a general crash in 2009. If we follow the Great Depression year for year we have yet to plumb the depths of our own economic collapse. 1932 was the worst year for the Depression and it is becoming apparent 2012 is going to be no better. If you are a voter, choose well who you vote for as it will literally mean life or death for our great country.