Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Isn't This Where We Came In?

I just spent the last little while reading up on the Panic of 1837.

Yeah, I do that.

It's actually pretty interesting. I won't bore you with the details, but it hit when this huge property bubble, pumped up by cheap and easy credit, suddenly burst.

The president decentralized national finance and let state and private banks look after themselves. Everyone did really well for a few years, but the banks were overextended and suddenly found they didn't have enough cash in reserves. Credit dried up overnight.

Everyone got hit pretty hard. Businesses went under nationwide. Foreign investors took a big hit too. Bankruptcy was commonplace. Unemployment hit double digits. Worst depression these folks would ever see.

People lost everything. Some were speculators who bet it all and lost, but most were regular folks just trying to get by, people who didn't know they were taking a chance at all.

Yup, pretty interesting.