The Corner

Something Wicked This Way Comes?

Megan McArdle, not exactly a charter member of the We Are Doomed camp:

This is starting to throw off more echoes of the Great Depression, where you have a sequence of crises, each touched off by the ones that came before, like dominos falling into some diabolic design. Europe and America thought they’d seen the worst of things by the end of 1930, only to be knocked back down even harder by the contagion of the Creditanstalt crisis.  In the US, the crisis ultimately triggered a string of bank failures worse than those sparked by the initial stock market crash, and the worst two years of the Great Depression were 1932-3.

I don’t want to lean too hard on this, as economic commentators (maybe including me) have started seeing Creditanstalt everywhere–in Dubai, in Greece, now in Ireland and maybe Spain.  It’s entirely possible that we’ll eventually muddle through without a second major event.  But it’s worth remembering that these things take a long time to unfold, and that we are often most vulnerable just when we think we have time for a breather.

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