How Will Daily Life Change During This Slow-Depression?
January 29, 2009 11:02 PM   Subscribe

How is daily life going to change over the next few years - because of the Slow Depression?

I'm starting to see trucking companies with lots of trailers parked. Roads seem to be getting pretty bad. Banking system is basically on the way out. Major retail seems headed to the bottom as well.

I'm presuming food is going to start going up at some point. Gas as well. Distribution of goods/services seems to be at risk? Are there angles that are not obvious? Is anyone planning for this?
posted by raikkohamilonso to Society & Culture (47 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
You're being paranoid and are subjecting yourself to confirmation bias.
posted by saeculorum at 11:06 PM on January 29, 2009 [28 favorites]


Actually, the price of commodities like gas and food will probably stay low. The reason gas was so expensive was because there was so much economic activity that required it, now -- not so much. During the great depression, the problem was overproduction of food. So much that farmers burned corn because it was cheaper then fuel, the government had to step in and pay farmers not to grow food in order to keep prices resonable.
posted by delmoi at 11:07 PM on January 29, 2009


Roads seem to be getting pretty bad

It's winter. Be glad you don't live in Illinois. (Unless you do, in which case we can't help you)
posted by niles at 11:16 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


According to Wikipedia (and I have no reason to doubt this) the first modern bank was established in 1407. That means banking has been around for 600 years. It is most certainly not "on the way out".
posted by sbutler at 11:28 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Postal chief warns of service cuts
posted by wastelands at 11:30 PM on January 29, 2009


I am planning for this. We've done such a good job of moving stuff around so far that basically any community of size has a great wealth of recyclable resources. It may look dilapidated, or it may be buried under mounds of trash and dirt, but that stuff will be extremely useful if physical distribution networks break down. Fabrication (using just about any material) is getting easie, and between the internet, open source CAD resources, and cutting machines that get cheaper all the time, it shouldn't be much of a problem manufacturing locally, based on need (opposed to quantity). Imagine going to the library, where they've replaced the old A/V room with some cutting machines, a circuit printer, a Serger, and a networked computer running a CAD program. You download the design for whatever you want (faucet? belt buckle? bicycle? cutting machine?!), feed the scrap you brought with you into the machines, and then print it out to take home and snap together. Rising costs of transportation along with social and financial instability will prohibit mass manufacturing. Production will have to be localized, and not just for agriculture (which is already happening, yay!).

And that's just step one, like when mainframes were only at universities an' shit.

You should check out what Neil Gershenfeld is doing at MIT with his Fab Labs. It may pique your interest.

Oh, also, don't bold your whole question. Poor form.
posted by carsonb at 11:35 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Judging from your AskMe question history, this is something you've been stewing over for at least a year. Yes, everything is affected by our economic downturn, but we are far from dystopia. Banking is not on the way out. Roads may be bad where you are, but they aren't bad nation-wide. Many services are being affected, but changes have to be made if we're to keep those services around in these times. Just do what you should be doing no matter what's going on with the economy - save your money, don't waste anything, look for alternatives and don't jump through any windows in a state of panic.
posted by katillathehun at 11:38 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hopefully my daily life will change due to my finally being able to afford a house.

The roads in CA have sucked for the past 20 years so no change there.
posted by fshgrl at 11:39 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thing to realize in an economic downturn is that prices actually drop. Food, clothing and shelter become cheap. It's a lot easier to be poor in bad economic times than it is in good times. People hunker down, become more real, and actually get to know their neighbors. You might gain a temporary roommate - you might just buy someone a beer - but everything gets slower and more immediate.

I kind of enjoy downturns.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:04 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, all bands will be somewhere between Jay Farrar and Alan Sparhawk. It's only obvious if you think about it.

Aside from that, you may want to examine your premises—our banking system, for example, is likely to have accelerated reforms and a more pronounced movement toward electronic access as those legislative reforms spark infrastructure reinvestment. Distribution will likely be less mass production and more localized if gas prices climb and remain high, but low growth equals low demand equals low prices.
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


as a contrarian i am scared to see the level of skepticism concerning this poster question
posted by dougiedd at 12:17 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm presuming food is going to start going up at some point. Gas as well."

You are obviously not from anywhere but the US. Food prices have been rising in the UK for the last year, and petrol has been prohibitively expensive there since I can remember. Last time I checked, the rest of the world did not implode under the same miniscule discomfort you're worrying about. America is not going to turn into Zimbabwe overnight. Hell. It won't even turn into the UK overnight. It's going to be just fine.

(Doesn't mean you can't still act on your apocalypse fantasies. Oh to build that concrete bunker and stockpile powdered meals...)
posted by saturnine at 12:27 AM on January 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


Take an intro economics course. That might give you some other angles to consider.
posted by MadamM at 12:46 AM on January 30, 2009


Hopefully my daily life will change due to my finally being able to afford a house.

Amen.

Also, look for more people buying on layaway. Layaway is totally going to make a comeback.

I don't think prices will rise; people are actually worried more about deflation at this price. Really, I'm looking at Japan in the early 90s as a model. Real estate bust, a couple big bank failures, no liquidity in the financial system, and deflation.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


More on the Japanese asset price bubble and its aftermath...
posted by mr_roboto at 1:13 AM on January 30, 2009


That depends on how much everyone (mostly the banks, but other people as well) hoard money and stop it moving around. Economic depression is, as we've seen in the UK recently where a bank bailout failed because banks didn't do anything with the money, self-fulfilling. If everyone panics, hangs onto their money, and doesn't move it around, things will get worse. If everyone gets their money moving again, we may not pull out of a depression cold turkey but we will at least be noticably better off.

Either way, no first-world country is suddenly about to turn into arctic, fallout-ridden wastelands you'll have to cross on sleds foraging for what little nuts and berries still exist. If you relax and spend money responsibly - while still spending some money, and saving some money - you'll probably be happier and more at peace than if you bunker up. At least, that's how I justify my new neat stuff.
posted by stelas at 2:00 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


This guy is planning for angles that aren't obvious:

Here are my recommendations for battle rifle purchasing, depending on your budget... Top tax bracket professionals: Factory original pre-ban (Belgian) FN-FAL, Lithgow L1A1, Valmet M76 .308, Galil .308, a match grade M1A, or a HK91.

Most people seem to think he's nuts.

That said: history teaches us that a humiliated empire with its economy in ruins is a prime breeding ground for violent scapegoating.

Kunstler sees a resurgence of anti-Semitism fueled by the criminality on Wall Street. As a Jew with paranoid tendencies, I ought to be on board with that. But I still see Latinos as being the designated goat this time around.

We've already several years of Limbaugh and Hannity playing Der Stürmer - baiting the angry white men who listen to them with lurid tales of how the "aliens" are underpricing them out of work and overbreeding them out of cultural dominance. When those men find even Wal-jobs out of reach, goon squads like the Minutemen will be happy to provide them with an outlet for their impotent rage.

Unless my recall is faulty, one Republican congresscritter has already floated the idea that prisoners could be forced to perform agricultural labor as part of their punishment. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see undocumented immigrants working our fields in chain gangs five years from now - especially if oil prices re-spike and our petroleum-based food production begins seizing up.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:14 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who looks forward to currency deflation? I guess I just prefer the lower numbers, regardless of the fact that actual cost is the same.

I mean even if $1 in a year equals $2 today, we're really still going to be paying the same *value*, but it feels better. Just saying...
posted by jellywerker at 2:15 AM on January 30, 2009


Either way, no first-world country is suddenly about to turn into arctic, fallout-ridden wastelands you'll have to cross on sleds foraging for what little nuts and berries still exist.

That's why, as a remote-bunker-survivalist, I long for a return to the days of the cold war.

At least back then when one talked about masses of displaced city-dwellers, supply chains grinding to a halt, and things you needed a bunker to protect yourself from, people would call it 'unlikely' rather than 'impossible'.

This modern, non-catastrophic-economic-slowdown apocalypse... it's soulless.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:23 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just an aside, but is there evidence that certain people start tooling up for the apocalypse every time there's an economic slump? Or is it just that this one is combining in some pathological way with anxiety about climate change and 'peak oil'?

It's true that people are being very cautious right now about purchasing high-value items (houses, cars) and that that is having a knock-on effect on the construction and auto industries (and the many, many industries that depend on them), but overall, we're just experiencing a correction - as a society we've been living on artifically high levels of credit, and we need to adjust to living more within our means. For some of us, that really just means life as usual, but there are a lot of people whose spending and borrowing were way beyond their means, and the banking system was encouraging that without much concern about whether it was sustainable. Once property prices fall to a more sustainable level (where I live, property prices have more than doubled inside a decade), that market will pick up. Other sectors may find it impossible to return to pre-1998 levels of output, but others still will flourish as a result of shifts in patterns of consumption.

And for the environment, anything that encourages us as a society to be less wasteful and more efficient can only be a good thing.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:37 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


but overall, we're just experiencing a correction

I fear the drawback could be deeper than that . . . since the expansion was debt-driven, the compression is going to produce a feedback spiral of cascading job losses for the foreseeable future (ie 2009). Job losses serve as anti-particles that ping outwards, annihilating other jobs in their path, which in turn continue this chain-reaction.

The end result absent extra-market intervention is an economy that becomes dysfunctional with existing wealth-creation capacity ludicrously underutilized due to lack of capital to run the plant and/or customers to take delivery of the product.

The 1970s featured a curious stew of demographic expansion (the baby boomers hitting their 20s), the OPEC energy shock, and pullback from the go-go 1960s.

We've coiled the spring a lot tighter this time around and I don't really know how badly the economy is going to spin down. Too many new moving parts -- the absence of union bargaining power outside of a few industries, the movement of light industry offshore, baby boomers entering retirement age, computerization perhaps entering the tailings of its productivity enhancement capabilities, etc. Oh, and perhaps we should look at the $800B/yr defense budget . . . that's a lot of buck for not much bang, as far as wealth creation goes.

Once property prices fall to a more sustainable level (where I live, property prices have more than doubled inside a decade)

One idea that has hooked me that I bring up [too] often is the concept of the "All-Devouring Rent". This is simply the observation that Land is a curious capital good that tends to soak up all free money in an economy, given its peculiar nature of fixed supply and unbounded demand (absent confiscatory property taxes, one cannot own too much or too good land). When wages go up, and/or taxes are cut, land values necessarily go up in lock-step with the improved purchasing power of homebuyers.

The flip side of this is that when takehome pay contracts, land prices (and rents) will HAVE to go down in lock-step.

To answer the question, I think Japan's lost decade is what we're facing, more or less. Having actually lived in Tokyo 1992-2000, I'm somewhat familiar with this, though I also was living in LA 1985-1992 and got to experience the 1990-1992 pullback first-hand then, too.
posted by troy at 3:27 AM on January 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Distribution of goods/services seems to be at risk?
I certainly hope not. I'm really looking forward to actually being able to purchase goods and get some service since I pay cash for things instead of putting it on credit. That table at the restaurant I can never get, that salesperson who won't give me the time of day because I'm not flashing a gold AmEx that is maxed to the hilt....well, I'm hoping to do those things now because all those people can't.
posted by meerkatty at 4:45 AM on January 30, 2009


Am I the only one who looks forward to currency deflation?

Considering it is bad for people with high debt and low savings and that it lowers the level of production, there are many people who don't.
posted by ersatz at 4:57 AM on January 30, 2009


Stop being alarmist. Here's what's going to happen:

- Some people will lose their jobs. Maybe even you.
- Some of your favorite Websites, magazines, and newspapers might go bust.
- It will be harder to get a mortgage, a credit card, or another sort of credit for awhile. Then it will get easier.
- The government will lower taxes and buy lots of stuff. Then it will raise taxes and cut lots of services.

But other than that, not much will change.

When a recession's going on, it always seems like there's no way out. Since demand's going down, what choice do suppliers have but to cut supply? And won't this just lead to a chain reaction and everyone will cut everything? Well, yes, but that's not the whole story.

The rest of the story is that all the factories, stores, restaurants, barbershops, and so forth that existed a year ago still exist, more or less. And all the people who need and want to eat, drink, buy stuff, and live their lives still need to do so. So most stuff will keep happening--after all, GDP's only down one or two percent. And there are still plenty of people with good business ideas who can generate wealth, even during a recession. They'll do their thing, and eventually, the forces of wealth generation will win out and we'll all start worrying about gas prices again.
posted by goingonit at 5:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


I am from New England, grew up in an upper middle class part of Connecticut, and have always lived in affluent areas. A few years ago, I moved to Buffalo.

Because the economy has been depressed here for so long, I find that (in general) the spending culture here is a little different. People don't go out to each as much, people save more money, people bring their own lunches. When I lived in Connecticut, there wasn't a culture of thrift. I would say in Buffalo, that is what I have experienced.

I do thing that if this recession keeps up for a few years, our culture of spending and spending will change. I don't know how much, but I think it will.
posted by hazyspring at 5:32 AM on January 30, 2009


[a few comments removed - stick to non-zombie scenarios please or take it to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 AM on January 30, 2009


I'm presuming food is going to start going up at some point. Gas as well. Distribution of goods/services seems to be at risk? Are there angles that are not obvious? Is anyone planning for this?

...Honestly, the worst thing that will happen is that you'll have some more people with bigger debt than they otherwise would have, more people on food stamps then there otherwise would have been, more people homeless then there otherwise would have been, and more people moving out of particularly depressed communities than there otherwise would have been.

Human beings are resilient. We can figure shit out. We are not facing Ragnarok here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 AM on January 30, 2009


um, food prices in the us, at least philadelphia, have gone up.

roads are bad because we have not invested in the infrastructure because people get pissy when their taxes are raised to pay for maintenance of bridges/roads/etc.

your question is one that i have thought about, but i am a paranoid worrywart who expects the worst. we live in a first-world nation that is still one of the richest in the world. being poor in america is lightyears away from being poor in sudan or northern china. though it's fun in a masochistic way to imagine our future as "the road" i just don't see it as happening in my lifetime.

so here's how i think daily life is going to change, at least for me, and probably many others:
  • clothes will get a bit more threadbare. we won't be quite as frivolous with clothing money and buy only things we KNOW we can get a lot of wear out of. we'll wear shoes until they're falling apart instead of when their sproing and support is gone.
  • more and more people will cancel cable, downgrade to a slower internet connection, but "pay as you go" phone services, etc.
  • we'll eat more meals at home and bring lunch to work more often.
  • we'll use the library for books and movies more than in the past, which is funny because now is when libraries are getting shuttered. irony.
  • we'll use what we have even if it isn't exactly the right thing (like butter instead of shortening, conditioner instead of shampoo, stuff like that).
  • we'll walk more because it's free to walk but $2 to ride the bus.
basically, realizing that now we have more time than money and that we need to make do with all the stuff we have instead of buying more.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:32 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Please excuse me for asking a rhetorical question, but how old are you?

The older you get, the more you will realize that every recession is the "worst since the Great Depression", that the same hacks and fear mongers come out of the woodwork, that the best-seller lists get crowded with doomsday tomes, and that…a few months later it all goes away.

Remember this: a vibrant ecomomy has a kind of conga line life to it. It will have fits and starts, surge ahead at times, and get jammed up at others. But it keeps going.
posted by dinger at 8:39 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who looks forward to currency deflation? I guess I just prefer the lower numbers, regardless of the fact that actual cost is the same.

I mean even if $1 in a year equals $2 today, we're really still going to be paying the same *value*, but it feels better. Just saying..


Umm...not so much.
Let's say you have a mortgage on your house. Let's say you pay $1000/month. Let's say that we enter a deflationary period. Let's say that wages decrease 5%. Let's say your salary goes from $50,000 to $45,000.

Your mortgage payment, as a portion of your income, just went up 11%.

Furthermore, if prices are going down, what's to stop everyone from not buying things? If I think that a TV is going to be (in real terms) 11% cheaper in 6 months, why would I buy it today? Why not wait? This perfectly (micro) rational response to deflation causes the (macro) economy to come to a grinding halt. Hence, deflationary spiral.

Deflation is scary. You might think it's good for you, personally, in the short term, but in reality, as a macro event, it is one of the most frightening things in all of economics. You do NOT look forward to it.
posted by jckll at 8:39 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even in the Great Depression, most people had jobs, most people had homes, most people did not experience severe suffering. The government is unlikely to let this one be as bad.

Services provided by the government are going to be worse and/or cost more. Or the government may use providing services as a way to prop up the economy. I sure hope the Obama administration chooses to fund education as a way of fueling the economy while investing in our human/intellectual infrastructure.

If unemployment keeps rising, to, say, 12%, then 3 out of 25 people you know are likely to be unemployed. Some people that you know may lose their home to foreclosure. Already, many of us have had our retirement savings badly reduced. (Ouch)

People will have to work harder and sacrifice some comforts. Some wealthy people won't need to change their lifestyle, but many people will see reduction in hours or pay, and will adjust accordingly. Certainly, raises and bonuses are becoming scarce (except some fuckers on Wall Street). When Jane is laid off, she'll get another job, but probably with lower pay, and that will happen a lot.

I tend to be a pessimist, and have an interest in the apocryphal, but I don't think the economy is going to cause TEOTWAWKT(The End Of The World As We Know It) unless a couple of countries go to war over economic issues(food, land, water), or things get so dire in poor countries that revolution starts looking good.

favorited; I want to come back later and see...
posted by theora55 at 8:41 AM on January 30, 2009


dinger: "Please excuse me for asking a rhetorical question, but how old are you?

The older you get, the more you will realize that every recession is the "worst since the Great Depression", that the same hacks and fear mongers come out of the woodwork, that the best-seller lists get crowded with doomsday tomes, and that…a few months later it all goes away.
"

I'm old enough to know that the Jonas Brothers aren't a novel musical concept. And while there were freakout books published during the last recession, no one in the government or media was making any references to the Great Depression. [Not unless a joke from Bart Simpson counts.] And we sure as hell didn't see Lehman Brothers sold off for peanuts like it was a toaster in a yard sale. The national debt is twice what it was then, the first Boomers are now starting to collect Social Security, and even the professional optimists in government forecasting aren't seeing any recovery at all until 2010.

Life will certainly go on - even if in an increasingly pinched and joyless fashion. But to dismiss this as a recession no different than its predecessors is dead wrong.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just an aside, but is there evidence that certain people start tooling up for the apocalypse every time there's an economic slump?
Probably. I remember my Dad basically predicting the end of the world back in the 1970s when gasoline first hit 50 cents a gallon. I'm not exaggerating; he'd pace around and make all these dire predictions and just worry himself in to a pitiable depression. This from a man whose foundest memories were from the Great Depression - of course, he was only six years old at the time, his father had a job, and his memories are of his older brothers taking him to the movies and buying ice cream on the way home.

As dinger said above, these dire predictions come with every economic downturn. I was laid off from my first job in 1981 during the Recession, and the job climate was so dismal that Michigan Unemployment kept giving special extensions to anyone whose job had been even peripherally connected to the auto industry. (Although in those days you had to go stand in line for hours to collect your check; they didn't mail it to you.) I remember the next big Recession, and I worked in the steel industry, and we saw domestic plants closing, cheap foreign steel flooding the market, and more dire predictions. On and on. It happens, we always pull through, but in the meantime panicky stories about job loss and possible food shortages sell newspapers and give the talking heads on TV something to talk about.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2009


I'm presuming food is going to start going up at some point.

Are you kidding? I just paid seven dollars for a jar of peanut butter and was absolutely thrilled because it was on special from $8.99. The prices on food are unbelievable--mayonaise $4.99, steak 10.99 and up!!! Chicken --buy one get one free--Of course the first package was 14.00...Bread? $3.89 a loaf! ...
I can only imagine how freaked out the people on SSI and such must be...Everyone where we live are scared spitless because of the layoffs which keep coming everyday. No JOBS AT ALL...
posted by AuntieRuth at 11:08 AM on January 30, 2009


Dinger says, "...a vibrant ecomomy has a kind of conga line life to it. It will have fits and starts, surge ahead at times, and get jammed up at others. But it keeps going."

I love this metaphor, thank you!
posted by pomegranate at 11:11 AM on January 30, 2009


Here's a few predictions. We can come back in 5-10 years and see how I did: You will be less able to afford professional and corporate products and services and they may become less available even if you can. I'd say be prepared to do a lot more buying, bartering, and begging of services (also secondhand or homemade products) with the people in your community. Increase your practical, real-world skills for more self-sufficiency and to be able to contribute yourself. We'll stop seeing as many Ask Metafilter answers that assume everyone can practically just go see their doctor*/lawyer/therapist/personal trainer/whatever as these become less accessible to the middle / upper-middle class demographic that dominates the site.

We'll see an increase in bullshit populism which could take a nasty form. The 2008 Obama vs. McCain Palin election evidences this, with Obama's of the less-offensive Hugo Chavez sort that involves some actual benefits for the people as opposed to Palin's scariness.

The federal government will start throwing money around, but I expect state and municipal services which miss out on the federal bailouts to suffer. The roads might not be plowed so well, the litter in the park might not get cleaned up...

* Unless America actually gets half-decent socialized healthcare any time soon, for which I'm not holding my breath.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:20 AM on January 30, 2009


Are you kidding? I just paid seven dollars for a jar of peanut butter and was absolutely thrilled because it was on special from $8.99. The prices on food are unbelievable--mayonaise $4.99, steak 10.99 and up!!! Chicken --buy one get one free--Of course the first package was 14.00...Bread? $3.89 a loaf! ...
I can only imagine how freaked out the people on SSI and such must be...Everyone where we live are scared spitless because of the layoffs which keep coming everyday. No JOBS AT ALL...


Where are you shopping, Whole Foods in Manhattan? I just saw a 25 pound sack of flour at GFS for $9...

NO JOBS AT ALL is just silly. The unemployment rate is at what, 7something? That means that max, 3% more people are out of work. The GDP just reported that it went down an annually adjusted rate of 3something. So if you un-adjust it, that means that there was about 1% less commerce happening Dec31 than there was Oct31. 1% of 14 trillion is a lot, but it also means that 99% of 14 trillion is still going on.
posted by gjc at 5:49 PM on January 30, 2009


The unemployment rate is at what, 7something?

An alternative gauge of unemployment - which includes discouraged workers and those whose hours have been cut back to part-time - rose to 12.5% from 11.8%. The number of workers forced to work part-time rose by 621,000 to 7.3 million. That was November.

It's 13.5% now.
posted by troy at 7:24 PM on January 30, 2009


What Troy said. I'd say that's a much more accurate picture of what I'm dealing with. I used to work full-time -- my hours at work have been cut to 10 hours/week. 10 hours a week. I might as well be unemployed -- but because I'm holding a job, I'm not eligible for benefits. I'm not the only one -- everyone at my workplace is working the same amount of hours.

Who knows what will happen, but to blithely dismiss what people have said, gjc, is a tad bit brusque. When you're basically living on $150/month, everything is expensive.
posted by arkhangel at 7:46 PM on January 30, 2009


This aint your fathers correction gang: your grandfathers maybe
Japanese industrial production has fallen 25% in a quater. 25%.
only 23,000 Americans bought a new home in December: guess when the last time that happened was?
posted by dougiedd at 10:53 PM on January 30, 2009


If we're going for predictions to check back on in a few years:
- this will be a longer downturn than past recessions, but the actual suffering in the developed world will be pretty minor. No Grapes of Wrath hunger, but quite a lot of people who bought houses in recent years in marginal circumstances will lose them.
- after a year or two of falling asset prices and general deflation, the USD will decline in value against most other countries, reversing the recent flight to treasuries, and inflation will roar back.
- The US gov will be in a rock and a hard place, things will still be slow, so they will be reluctant to raise rates to counter the USD sell off, so there will be little option but to accept the inflation.
- IRL prices for day to day stuff will rise a bit, and imported stuff will rise more. A TV will go back to being a pretty major purchase, not something for every room you replace every couple of years. The median age of the car fleet will go up a couple of years. Utilities will increase to the point that GASP, people will wear a sweater indoors and heat their home less.
- a bunch of aspirational entertainment will go bust. Things like luxury travel magazines, cigar aficionado and a couple of Vegas hotel companies will go broke, leaving holes in the ground for a few years.
posted by bystander at 2:51 AM on January 31, 2009


Dear gjc....as of this morning there are 18 jobs posted in our newspaper...one of which was for part time help at an alpaca farm..experience required..thank you.

I am not shopping at whole foods in Manhattan or anyplace else. This is at our local 'Food Lion' surrogate..In case you haven't noticed, everything in the grocery store is downsized but cost the same or more. I'm glad you are able to get such good prices on flour. Do you bake your own bread? Make your own pasta? I'm glad you have the time.
posted by AuntieRuth at 9:50 AM on January 31, 2009


Heh... pretty much what I expected.

"Just another recession": sure, sure it is!

"Banking is not on the way out": you're right, because it's just been nationalized by taxpayers. Kind of like how the U.S. auto industry also isn't "on the way out", right?

Can we bail out those job loss numbers from last month the same way?
posted by raikkohamilonso at 8:28 PM on February 2, 2009


NO JOBS AT ALL is just silly.

You're right, it is silly. There are jobs. The problem is, other people already have them.

"Just another recession": sure, sure it is!

raikkohamilonso, this may indeed be a stronger recession than you've seen. But the thing you're not seeing is that there are MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY stages between "recession" and "Stone Age existance with rioting in the streets".

Worry about the recession if you like, but fabricating a stronger problem out of the situation by envisioning food shortages and people resorting to cannibalism and the like, and you're just putting yourself through needless anxiety.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on February 3, 2009


An interesting question in retrospect. I wonder how many people still agree with their original statements.
posted by Houstonian at 5:36 PM on September 5, 2009


I still agree with mine, and I think we have seen cost of living increases (I certainly have) even if offset by declines in some price categories. So, for example, new car prices and housing costs are lower but food is higher. I think we have seen Vegas and its ilk hurt.
I think we have seen weakness in the dollar, and I still there will be more.
I still think inflation is going to rise substantially.
posted by bystander at 4:33 PM on September 7, 2009


Checking in: I lost my long-term temp gig (I'd been there for 4 years) and couldn't get another gig for two and a half months. Then I started getting a day here, a couple days there through April and May...then that turned into a week here, a couple weeks there....now we're at a few weeks here, a month there. My agency says things are starting to pick back up.

I cut some corners in my budget and had to scale back to paying the minimum on my credit cards rather than paying more-than-the-minimum, and I also am going to have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits this year. Other than that, that's it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:11 AM on September 8, 2009


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