BUSINESS

BUSINESS

Tuesday, March 6, 2018





  • The Great Depression left communities across the United States in utter destitution during its 1935 to 1943 grip on the nation

  • The images reveal the harsh moments of arid land and decay as well as the rare moments of happiness celebrated in barbecues and baseball games

The Great Depression devastated that United States like never before, leaving the land arid and crumbling and families destitute and hungry.
Cities in the south formed refuge camps for families fleeing the panic in their hometowns.
Despite the poverty and scarcity, communities formed in the Dust Bowl states of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas where migrants supported one another through the dire days.

Migrant farmer families gathered for a potluck with a mouth-watering desserts table stuffed with sweets and pies in Pie Town, New Mexico in October 1940 as captured by Russell Lee
Migrant farmer families gathered for a potluck with a mouth-watering desserts table stuffed with sweets and pies in Pie Town, New Mexico in October 1940 as captured by Russell Lee
Men lifted their hats for the barbecue festivities that saw women dress in their best skirt suits and children tidy up in in button down shifts and overalls for the Pie Town community meal
Men lifted their hats for the barbecue festivities that saw women dress in their best skirt suits and children tidy up in in button down shifts and overalls for the Pie Town community meal
Jack Whinery and his wife and five children got by the hard years of the Great Depression as self-sufficient homesteaders in Pie Town, New Mexico, photographed by Lee in 1940
Jack Whinery and his wife and five children got by the hard years of the Great Depression as self-sufficient homesteaders in Pie Town, New Mexico, photographed by Lee in 1940
Whinery and his wife and youngest child share solemn faces in their humble home made of makeshift cardboard walls and adorned with a 1940s Coca-Cola advertisement poster
Whinery and his wife and youngest child share solemn faces in their humble home made of makeshift cardboard walls and adorned with a 1940s Coca-Cola advertisement poster
The schoolchildren of various ages in Pie Town, New Mexico sang in an assembly in 1940 to lift community spirits that hit an all time low through the 1935 to 1943 Depression years
The schoolchildren of various ages in Pie Town, New Mexico sang in an assembly in 1940 to lift community spirits that hit an all time low through the 1935 to 1943 Depression years
A Pie Town resident proudly displays her homemade quilt detailed with different states and matching birds for Lee's camera in October 1940 as he documented Dust Bowl communities
A Pie Town resident proudly displays her homemade quilt detailed with different states and matching birds for Lee's camera in October 1940 as he documented Dust Bowl communities
The hard years didn't mean the end of fun. Migrant workers are pictured lounging on the stoop of a living quarter and 'juke joint' in Belle Glade, Florida in early 1941 captured by photographer Marion Post Wolcott
The hard years didn't mean the end of fun. Migrant workers are pictured lounging on the stoop of a living quarter and 'juke joint' in Belle Glade, Florida in early 1941 captured by photographer Marion Post Wolcott
While men worked as laborers in the fields their sons playfully waited around such as this group of youngsters pictured in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma in June 1939 by Lee
While men worked as laborers in the fields their sons playfully waited around such as this group of youngsters pictured in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma in June 1939 by Lee
A migrant laborer poses with his wagon and children on the outskirts of Perryton, Texas in 1938 for photographer Dorothea Lange. He and his wife have been on the road ever since they got married 13 years prior to the snapshot, with hopes to eventually buy a home in Idaho
A migrant laborer poses with his wagon and children on the outskirts of Perryton, Texas in 1938 for photographer Dorothea Lange. He and his wife have been on the road ever since they got married 13 years prior to the snapshot, with hopes to eventually buy a home in Idaho
Tenant farmer displaced from their land by tractor farming spending their time idle on the dusty ground in July 1937 in Texas as captured by photographer Lange
Tenant farmer displaced from their land by tractor farming spending their time idle on the dusty ground in July 1937 in Texas as captured by photographer Lange
The Great Depression years saw the Dust Bowl farmland erode into wasteland. A solitary but occupied farmhouse stands among withered plants in 1938 in Dalhart, Texas, shot by Lange
The Great Depression years saw the Dust Bowl farmland erode into wasteland. A solitary but occupied farmhouse stands among withered plants in 1938 in Dalhart, Texas, shot by LangeAn old two-story home lays out laundry to dry in Houston, Texas in 1943 while a worker unloads goods onto a fruit stand in May 1943 as captured by photographer John Vachon
An old two-story home lays out laundry to dry in Houston, Texas in 1943 while a worker unloads goods onto a fruit stand in May 1943 as captured by photographer John Vachon
Jim Norris of Pie Town sits among corn stalks in New Mexico in 1940 as captured by Lee
Jim Norris of Pie Town sits among corn stalks in New Mexico in 1940 as captured by Lee
Lee snapped the moment Norris harvested new corn with the help of two horses in 1940 in the latter years of the Great Depression where farmers tended to their fields with renews spirit
Lee snapped the moment Norris harvested new corn with the help of two horses in 1940 in the latter years of the Great Depression where farmers tended to their fields with renews spirit
A woman hacks at a plant of cabbage in October 1940 in Pie Town, New Mexico in a community formed of migrant farmers that hailed from Texas and Oklahoma
A woman hacks at a plant of cabbage in October 1940 in Pie Town, New Mexico in a community formed of migrant farmers that hailed from Texas and Oklahoma
Photographer Wolcott captured the moment a farmer harvested oats in Southeastern Georgia back in 1940 in the years that slowly recovered from the destitution of the Great Depression
Photographer Wolcott captured the moment a farmer harvested oats in Southeastern Georgia back in 1940 in the years that slowly recovered from the destitution of the Great Depression
Men led a horse-drawn fertilizer wagon through a southeastern Georgia oat field in 1944 tending to the promising fields as shot by Wolcott
Men led a horse-drawn fertilizer wagon through a southeastern Georgia oat field in 1944 tending to the promising fields as shot by Wolcott
Times began to look up in 1944 and photographer Jack Delano took out his camera to document the hustle and bustle of a farm auction in Derby, Connecticut in September
Times began to look up in 1944 and photographer Jack Delano took out his camera to document the hustle and bustle of a farm auction in Derby, Connecticut in September
In contrast to the promises of 1944, fields where still left in shambles in 1941 as in this Belle Glade, Florida field where Negro migratory workers shared this shaky tin-roof shack
In contrast to the promises of 1944, fields where still left in shambles in 1941 as in this Belle Glade, Florida field where Negro migratory workers shared this shaky tin-roof shack
The Great Depression created devastating levels of poverty. Photographer Wolcott captured the tattered shacks and litter-strewn streets of Negro migrant worker neighborhoods in Belle Glade Florida in February 1941 
The Great Depression created devastating levels of poverty. Photographer Wolcott captured the tattered shacks and litter-strewn streets of Negro migrant worker neighborhoods in Belle Glade Florida in February 1941 
Wolcott also photographed the lines of homes that were condemned by the Board of Health that were still occupied by Negro migrant workers in Belle Glade, Florida in 1941
Wolcott also photographed the lines of homes that were condemned by the Board of Health that were still occupied by Negro migrant workers in Belle Glade, Florida in 1941
The wooden shacks occupied by Negro workers in Belle Glade stood in lines where families hung laundry to dry in the arid wind in the January 1941
The wooden shacks occupied by Negro workers in Belle Glade stood in lines where families hung laundry to dry in the arid wind in the January 1941
The tap at Belle Glade, Florida was the only source of water for a camp of migratory workers in 1937. Arthur Rothstein shot the crowds that brought pails to the water source
The tap at Belle Glade, Florida was the only source of water for a camp of migratory workers in 1937. Arthur Rothstein shot the crowds that brought pails to the water source
A caravan hit the dusty road that left its exterior white with the chalk of the air carrying drought refugees from Abilene, Texas, who followed the road to California in August 1936
A caravan hit the dusty road that left its exterior white with the chalk of the air carrying drought refugees from Abilene, Texas, who followed the road to California in August 1936
A mother holds her baby when Lee takes her photo. Her child clutches a baby doll in Weslaco, Texas in 1939 and the two reveal dismayed and tired faces in the wake of the Depression
A mother holds her baby when Lee takes her photo. Her child clutches a baby doll in Weslaco, Texas in 1939 and the two reveal dismayed and tired faces in the wake of the Depression
Another family in Weslaco Texas sit barefoot on their humble mattress  on the hay-littered floor in February 1939, offering Lee a rare glimpse into family life during the Great Depression
Another family in Weslaco Texas sit barefoot on their humble mattress on the hay-littered floor in February 1939, offering Lee a rare glimpse into family life during the Great Depression
Despite the myriad of images of harsh poverty, photographer Rothstein captured the precious moment of a music lesson in Weslaco Texas in a farmers camp in February 1942
Despite the myriad of images of harsh poverty, photographer Rothstein captured the precious moment of a music lesson in Weslaco Texas in a farmers camp in February 1942
The dry, cracked soil doubled as a baseball diamond in Weslaco, Texas where men enjoy a home run in February 1942
The dry, cracked soil doubled as a baseball diamond in Weslaco, Texas where men enjoy a home run in February 1942
Tom Collins, left, was the manager of Kern migrant camp in California, but still lived in a humble canvas tent which housed a mother and a child in November 1936
Tom Collins, left, was the manager of Kern migrant camp in California, but still lived in a humble canvas tent which housed a mother and a child in November 1936
A Farm Security Administration client and his wife tend to a farm income ledger in Hidalgo County, Texas in 1939, and offer a unique glimpse at the small pleasures of home life during the Great Depression, as shot by Lee
A Farm Security Administration client and his wife tend to a farm income ledger in Hidalgo County, Texas in 1939, and offer a unique glimpse at the small pleasures of home life during the Great Depression, as shot by Lee
A Dalhart, Texas farmer levels a road saying 'I know what the land did once for me, maybe it will do it again' hoping for a future harvest from the arid soil in June 1938
A Dalhart, Texas farmer levels a road saying 'I know what the land did once for me, maybe it will do it again' hoping for a future harvest from the arid soil in June 1938
Dinner as a migrant worker meant a humble meal of chopped vegetables fried in a searing pan over a dirt campfire in Edinburg, Texas in 1939
Dinner as a migrant worker meant a humble meal of chopped vegetables fried in a searing pan over a dirt campfire in Edinburg, Texas in 1939
A Mother's Club in migrant Arvin camp gathered to discuss the possibility of buying kerosene oil in large quantities for light and cooking to share in the camp to cut costs in November 1938
A Mother's Club in migrant Arvin camp gathered to discuss the possibility of buying kerosene oil in large quantities for light and cooking to share in the camp to cut costs in November 1938




And you thought it was bad now:

life of destitute Americans during the Great Depression

Children of migrant fruit worker in Berrien County, Michigan
Downtrodden: Children of migrant fruit worker in Berrien County, Michigan


 

Every lost job is a human drama for Americans, but this is not the Great Depression. The farm economy, dead in the water in the 1930s, remains healthy with grain prices off their peak but still robust. Social safety nets, mean as they look, are there to keep people off the streets in the shape of welfare payments for suffering families.
Since the onset of the recession in 2007, pundits have compared the crisis to the Great Depression of the 1930s - but this week's release of 1,000 photographs from that bygone era serves as a reminder of how truly harsh that period was.  All of the black-and-white photos that were made available online by the New York Public Library were taken in the 1930s and 1940s under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) – an agency created in 1935 as part of the New Deal policy to combat rural poverty. The New York Times has reported that Roy Stryker, founder of the FSA’s photography project, was determined to compile a visual encyclopaedia of Depression-era U.S. and preserve it for future generations.
Squatters camping on a highway near Bakersfield, California, in 1935
Homeless: Squatters camping on a highway near Bakersfield, California, in 1935
A California fruit 'tramp' was photographed with his family in a migrant camp in Marysville in 1935
Hard-knock life: A California fruit 'tramp' was photographed with his family in a migrant camp in Marysville in 1935
So, while photographers like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Russell Lee crisscrossed the country, Mr Stryker was sending boxes of prints to Ramona Javitz, the director of the New York Public Library Picture Collection, to make sure there was a repository other than the National Archives.
‘I think he had to hedge his bets,’ said Beverly Brannan, a curator at the Library of Congress. ‘It makes sense that he would send them to Ramona Javitz, so there would at least be a body of them accessible in New York City until he got assurance that they would be kept together in Washington, DC.’
In the mid-1940s, the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photograph Collection was assembled, comprising 175,000 negatives and 1,600 color transparencies. It quickly became the authoritative source for Mr Stryker’s projects.
Children sitting on the steps of a dilapidated house in Michigan in June of 1937
Destitute: Children sitting on the steps of a dilapidated house in Michigan in June of 1937
The photographs were taken by the Farm Security Administration that was combating rural poverty
Documented: The photographs were taken by the Farm Security Administration that was combating rural poverty
Department of Agriculture officials testing meats at Beltsville, Maryland, in 1935
Quality control: Department of Agriculture officials testing meats at Beltsville, Maryland, in 1935
‘There are a lot of good images in the FSA that people don’t know because the same ones get reproduced over and over again,’ Mr Pinson told the Times.
Many of the photographs feature scenes from the lives of everyday people whose world had been turned upside-down by the Great Depression.
The Depression got under way on October 29, 1929 – a date better known as ‘Black Tuesday’ - when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted almost 23 per cent, dragging down both and domestic and global economy to disastrous effect.
Dust bowl refugees photographed along a highway near Bakersfield, California, in 1935
Bleak: Dust bowl refugees photographed along a highway near Bakersfield, California, in 1935
Mother and father and several children of a family of nine living in open field in rough board covering built on old Ford chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee
Down-and-out: Mother and father and several children of a family of nine living in open field in rough board covering built on old Ford chassis on U.S. Route 70, between Bruceton and Camden, Tennessee
A family of eight living in a four-bedroom home in El Monte, California, paying $16.20 rent a month
Bygone era: A family of eight living in a four-bedroom home in El Monte, California, paying $16.20 rent a month
Scores of farmers lost their land after being unable to pay back their loans and ended up as share croppers, working other people’s plots just to eke out a living.
While President Barack Obama has often been criticized for his handling of the economy and the unemployment crisis, which continues to threaten his  re-election prospects, the situation is far less bleak that the one President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced when he was elected in 1932.
At the height of the Great Depression, as many as 15 million Americans were unemployed
Jobless: At the height of the Great Depression, as many as 15 million Americans were unemployed
At the time, the national unemployment number was 24.9 per cent, and 15million workers had no jobs. For comparison, the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 8.2 per cent of Americans are unemployed.
Yet, the historical perspective has done little to improve Obama’s chances in November, especially after it was announced last week that for the first time since June of 2011, the unemployment number went up from 8.0 per cent the month before. 
Migrant family in Kern County, California, in 1936
Wayward: Migrant family in Kern County, California, in 1936
Houses of African-Americans in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1936
Hovels: Houses of African-Americans in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1936
When the first dust storms blew through Oklahoma in 1932, few people in the state could foresee the catastrophic devastation that clouds of sands carried aloft by the hallowing winds would bring to the region over the next decade.
Massive dust storms that swept through the Southern Plains caused severe erosion by blowing off millions of tons of topsoil in southeastern Colorado, southwest Kansas and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, leaving farmers destitute.
By 1934, it was estimated that 100 million acres of farmland had lost all or most of the rich topsoil to the winds, leaving the fields barren and the farmers destitute.
Desperate times: Harvesters hitchhike on route 64 en route to a wheat harvesting in the Dust-Bowl ravaged state of Oklahoma in 1942
Desperate times: Harvesters hitchhike on route 64 en route to a wheat harvesting in the Dust-Bowl ravaged state of Oklahoma in 1942
Barren land: Oklahoman agriculturists work on way to fix the Great Plains region's catastrophic erosion problem in 1942
Barren land: Oklahoman agriculturists work on way to fix the Great Plains region's catastrophic erosion problem in 1942
The Dust Bowl got its name after Black Sunday, April 14, 1935, when a tremendous cloud of dust appeared on the horizon. Winds were clocked at 60 miles per hour, blowing shovelfuls of fine sand everywhere.
The day after Black Sunday, an Associated Press reporter used the term ‘Dust Bowl’ for the first time. The decade later came to be known as the Dirty Thirties.
The dust penetrated every nook and cranny, turning many homes unlivable and making it hard to breath. As a result of the dust's relentless assault which blotted out the sun and rendered the once-fertile soil useless, millions of American families were forced to abandon their farms and head west in search of work, food and shelter.
Hardy: Countless farming families, like this Oklahoma clan pictured in 1942, stayed behind in the Dust Bowl, suffering through the very worst of the decade and fighting for ever
Hardy: Countless farming families, like this Oklahoma clan pictured in 1942, stayed behind in the Dust Bowl, suffering through the very worst of the decade and fighting for ever
Unbreakable: Venus Barnett trying to raise vegetables in garden of family farm in the Dust Bowl for a second time after a windstorm blew the first seedlings away
Unbreakable: Venus Barnett trying to raise vegetables in garden of family farm in the Dust Bowl for a second time after a windstorm blew the first seedlings away
These Dust Bowl refugees, immortalized in John Steinbeck’s seminal novel The Grapes of Wrath, were collectively known as ‘Okies,’ whether or not they actually came from the dust-ravaged state of Oklahoma, Life reported.
But just as entire families in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and other states abandoned their dust-clogged homes and barren fields, countless other farmers stayed behind, suffering through the very worst of the Dirty Thirties and desperately fighting for every crop.
It wasn’t until 1939 that the drought broke and rains finally came, bringing long-awaited relief to those who went through so much to keep their meager livelihoods and homesteads.
In 1942, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt traveled to the Dust Bowl region to capture the aftermath of the natural disaster, which resulted in a series of poignant images showing tenacious farmers like John Barnett, of Oklahoma, who refused to give up on their land.
Daily struggles: Farmer's wife Mrs Venus Barnett and son Lincoln in room of their worn farmhouse, Oklahoma, 1942
Daily struggles: Farmer's wife Mrs Venus Barnett and son Lincoln in room of their worn farmhouse, Oklahoma, 1942
Sand-choked wilderness: Sagebush and sand surround John Barnett's house and farm buildings. There is no topsoil left on the 160 acres. He grows rye and fodder in sandy loam
Sand-choked wilderness: Sagebush and sand surround John Barnett's house and farm buildings. There is no topsoil left on the 160 acres. He grows rye and fodder in sandy loam For some, the phrase ?Dust Bowl? conjures a place: the Great Plains, but a Great Plains of abandoned homes, ruined lives, dead and dying crops and sand, sand, sand. For others, the phrase denotes not a region but an era: the mid- to late-1930s in America, when countless farms were lost; dust storms raced across thousands of miles of once-fertile land, so huge and unremitting that they often blotted out the sun; and millions of American men, women and children took to the road, leaving behind everything they knew and everything they?d built, heading west, seeking work, food, shelter, new lives, new hope. These families,
With their paltry possessions stuffed in one bag, a couple of migrant workers wearily trudge along a road in California looking for another day's wages in the fields.
The image is typical of life in the country during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
It is just one of many black-and-white photographs from the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection.
Long road ahead: Migrant workers walk from farm to farm looking for jobs in Southern California in 1937
Long road ahead: Migrant workers walk from farm to farm looking for jobs in Southern California in 1937
The collection is something of a landmark in the history of documentary photography.
They show an America on its knees, but also the defiant spirit of people living through the most severe economic slump in history.
The depression began in the U.S., starting with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday.
Unemployment rose to 25 per cent in the U.S., and farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by up to 60 per cent.
Barren lands: The increase in farm mechanization forced thousands of tenants from their homes in areas such as Childress County, Texas, in 1938














































  • Farm Security Administration photographer Marion Post Wolcott's amazing color photos depict the poverty and deprivation of life in the Deep South in the 1930s and 1940s
  • She worked in a team taking photos showing the success of, and need for, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs



  • Some commentators say the images are works of art, while others claim they're government propaganda


  • Were they government propaganda or works of art?
    The 1930s saw an explosion of documentary photo and film work depicting impoverished Americans around the country, including poor African American day laborers in the Deep South. Many of these vivid images were captured by Farm Security Administration photographers - snappers hired by the government to 'put out positive propaganda' about President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'New Deal' to generate public support.
    Roosevelt's bold package of reforms to lift America's economy out of the Great Depression made the government, for the first time, responsive to the needs of its suffering population. FSA photographers, such as Marion Post Wolcott whose vivid images are below, documented the poverty and deprivation in pockets of the U.S. to show why the New Deal was needed. 'As an FSA documentary photographer, I was committed to changing the attitudes of people by familiarizing America with the plight of the underprivileged, especially in rural America,' she said, according to a University of Virginia biographical sketch.
    'FSA photographs shocked and aroused public opinion to increase support for the New Deal policies and projects, and played an important part in the social revolution of the 30s.'
    A tenant's home beside the Mississippi River levee, near Lake Providence, Louisiana
    A tenant's home beside the Mississippi River levee, near Lake Providence, Louisiana
    Bayou Bourbeau plantation operated by Bayou Bourbeau Farmstead Association, a cooperative established through the cooperation of FSA, Natchitoches, La
    Bayou Bourbeau plantation operated by Bayou Bourbeau Farmstead Association, a cooperative established through the cooperation of FSA, Natchitoches, La
    A store with live cat fish for sale near Natchitoches, Louisiana
    A store with live cat fish for sale near Natchitoches, Louisiana
    Wolcott's moving images of the Deep South captured the enduring legacy of slavery - the extreme poverty, the continued work on plantations and  malnourishment. 
    According to the University of Virginia, the task of Wolcott and her colleagues was to 'record both the need for and success of' New Deal farming and social security programs around the country.
    The small team of photographers earned less than $3,000 a year, but managed to produce 270,000 pictures between 1935 and 1943 at a cost of $1 million. '[The] cadre of photographers hardly worked inside a cultural vacuum,' a University of Virginia historian wrote.
    'Could the FSA photographs, allegedly unadulterated and objectively snapped, be art, or, rather, did they represent purely propagandistic material? 'The answer encompasses both views.'
    The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division has preserved the original photographs, but have made them available on photosharing website Flickr since 2008.
    The vivid collection of shots has attracted more than 10 million views, enabling viewers to tag and comment on pictures - what the library calls 'history detective' work.
    Men fishing at a creek near cotton plantations outside Belzoni, Mississippi
    Men fishing at a creek near cotton plantations outside Belzoni, Mississippi
    A group of people - possibly a family - at the Bayou Bourbeau plantation, an FSA cooperative at Natchitoches, Louisiana
    A group of people - possibly a family - at the Bayou Bourbeau plantation, an FSA cooperative at Natchitoches, Louisiana
    A cross roads store, bar, 'juke joint' and gas station in the cotton plantation area of Melrose, Louisiana
    A cross roads store, bar, 'juke joint' and gas station in the cotton plantation area of Melrose, Louisiana
    Day-laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Mississippi
    Day-laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Mississippi
    An old tenant house with a mud chimney and cotton growing up to its door in Melrose, Louisiana
    An old tenant house with a mud chimney and cotton growing up to its door in Melrose, Louisiana
    A group in transit, captured somewhere in Mississippi
    A group in transit, captured somewhere in Mississippi
    Boys fishing in a bayou in Schriever, Louisiana
    Boys fishing in a bayou in Schriever, Louisiana
    Day laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Mississippi
    Day laborers picking cotton near Clarksdale, Mississippi
    Clothes of swimmers hanging on a telegraph pole in Lake Providence, Louisiana. The children from the nearby farms and neighborhoods often went swimming on the weekend
    Clothes of swimmers hanging on a telegraph pole in Lake Providence, Louisiana. The children from the nearby farms and neighborhoods often went swimming on the weekend
    Children on the porch of a home at Marcella Plantation in Mileston, Mississippi
    Children on the porch of a home at Marcella Plantation in Mileston, Mississippi
    People walking at the Marcella Plantation in Mileston, Mississippi
    People walking at the Marcella Plantation in Mileston, Mississippi
    These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small towns. The color digital photographs, scans of color transparencies, show the places of Depression Era America – the industry, the homes, the landmarks and the landscapes of a country emerging from the Great Depression and into World War II. All the caption information is taken from the original photographers and, where noted, was added to by the Library of Congress staff.
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    1
    Llano de San Juan, New Mexico, Catholic Church, July or October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    2
    Bean field under cultivation, Seabrook Farm, Bridgeton, N.J. June, 1942? (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    3
    View from the Skyline Drive, Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    4
    A woman painting a view of the Shenandoah Valley from the Skyline Drive, near an entrance to the Appalachian Trail, Virginia, ca. 1940.(Photo by Jack Delano, color slide Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    5
    A mountain farm along the Skyline Drive in Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    6
    Cornshocks in mountain farm along the Skyline Drive in Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    7
    Mountain farm along Skyline Drive, Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    8
    Burning the autumn leaves in Norwich, Connecticut, November 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    9
    A view of the old sea town, Stonington, Connecticut, November 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Potato farm in Aroostook County, Maine, after the potatoes had been harvested, October 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    A starch factory along the Aroostook River, Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Factory buildings in Lowell, Massachusetts, December 1940 or January 1941. [Library note: Photo shows buildings later converted to a residential unit complex known as the Massachusetts Mills at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers, in Lowell, MA.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Brockton, Massachusetts, second-hand plumbing store, December 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Railroad cars and factory buildings in Lawrence, Massachusetts, January?, 1941. [Library note: Identified as Ayer Mill clock tower, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Previously identified as Lowell.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Douglas Shoe Factory, Spark St., Brockton, Massachusetts, ca. December 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Train and several sets of railroad tracks in the snow, Massachusetts, December 1940 or January 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Industrial town in Massachusetts, possibly New Bedford, ca. January 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Landscape on the Jackson farm, vicinity of White Plains, Georgia, June 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Christiansted, Saint Croix, Virgin Islands. Catholic [i.e. Anglican] Church, December 1941. [Library note: Photo shows St. John's Anglican Church, 27 King St.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Christiansted, St. Croix? Virgin Islands, December 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    On the coast of Puerto Rico?, December? 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Apartment houses near the cathedral in old part of the city, San Juan, December 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Farmland in the vicinity of Mt. Sneffels, Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Ouray, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Looking down the valley toward Ouray from the Camp Bird Mine, Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Home of a fruit tree rancher, Delta County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Flour mill, Caldwell, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    On main street of Cascade, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Milk and butter fat receiving depot and creamery, Caldwell, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Cherry orchards, farmlands and irrigation ditch at Emmett, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Wheat farm, Walla Walla, Washington, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Shasta dam under construction, California, June 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Church near Junction City, Kansas, 1942 or 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Road out of Romney, West Virginia, 1942 or 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Wisdom, Montana, April 1942. (Photo by John Vachon, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Cabin in southern U.S., ca. 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)#
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    Copper mining and sulfuric acid plant, Copperhill, Tennessee, September 1939. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    A train bringing copper ore out of the mine, Ducktown, Tennessee. Fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land, September 1939. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)#
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    Planting corn along a river in northeastern Tennessee, May 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Natchez, Mississippi, August 1940. [Library note: Photograph shows store or cafe with soft drink signs: Coca-Cola, Orange-Crush, Royal Crown, Double Cola, and Dr. Pepper.] (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, Louisiana, June 1940. [Library note: Photograph shows sign on left building: Frenchies Beer Garden; above porch: Frenchies Bar.] (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Field of Burley tobacco on farm of Russell Spears, drying and curing barn in the background, vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky, September 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Row houses, corner of N and Union Streets S.W., Washington, D.C., between 1941-1942. (Photo by Louise Rosskam, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Field with tree stumps, between 1941 and 1942. (Photographer unknown, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    General store, near Questa, Taos County, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Cerros, near Costilla, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Placita, New Mexico, on the Rio Pueblo, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Romeroville, near Chacon, Mora Co., New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Plaza of Costilla, near the Colorado line, New Mexico, Spring 1943. [Photo shows the plaza of Costilla, New Mexico, on the east side of Route 522.] (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Chapel, Vadito, near Penasco, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    A farm, Bethel, Vermont, June 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Church along the Delaware River, New York, July 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, June 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    General view of a classification yard at C & NW RR's Proviso yard, Chicago, Illinois, December 1942. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    The giant 10 million bushel grain elevator of the Santa Fe R.R., Kansas, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    General view of the city and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas. Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Grain elevators along the route of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas. MArch 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Farm land in Texas panhandle near Amarillo, Texas. Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Amarillo, Texas, general view, Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Santa Fe R.R. yard, Gallup, New Mexico, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Passing a section house along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad, Encino vicinity, New Mexico. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Indian houses and farms on the Laguna Indian reservation, Laguna, New Mexico. In the background is Mount Taylor. The Santa Fe R.R. crosses the reservation, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Santa Fe R.R. line leaving Cadiz, California. This town is a junction point with a branch going to Phoenix, Arizona. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency,Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Mojave Desert country, crossed by the Santa Fe R.R., Cadiz, California. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Illinois Central R.R., freight cars at the South Water Street freight terminal, Chicago, Illinois The C & O and Nickel Plate Railroads lease part of this terminal from the I.C.R.R. April 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Freight Depot of the U.S. Army consolidating station, Chicago, Illinois. April 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Loading a freighter with coal at one of the three coal docks owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Sandusky, Ohio. May 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Pennsylvania R.R. ore docks, unloading ore from a lake freighter by means of "Hulett" unloaders, Cleveland, Ohio. May 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Partly finished open hearth furnaces and stacks for a steel mill under construction which will soon be producing vitally needed steel, Columbia Steel Co., Geneva, Utah, November 1942. (Photo by Andreas Feininger, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Old lead mines here have been reopened, Creede, Colorado. Creede for many years was "a ghost town," but has resumed the activities that made it an important lead producing center years ago, and is now producing much vitally needed metal for the war effort, December 1942. (Photo by Andreas Feininger, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Street scene, with building of the Southington News, Southington, Connecticut, May 1942. (Photo by Fenno Jacobs, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Street corner, Dillon, Montana. Dillon is the trading center for a prosperous cattle and sheep country. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    First snow of the season in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Meagher County, Montana. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Development at the site of the mill for the Mouat Chromite mine, Stillwater County, Montana. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    Looking north on Woodward Ave., from the Maccabee[s] Building with the Fisher Building at the far left, and the Wardell Hotel at the middle right, Detroit, Michigan. July 1942. (Photo by Arthur Siegel, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore, Detroit, Michigan. November 1942. (Photo by Arthur Siegel, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
    Captured: Color Landscapes
    Nearly exhausted sulphur vat from which railroad cars are loaded, Freeport Sulphur Co., Hoskins Mound, Texas. May 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #
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    U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C. ca. 1943. (Photographer unknown, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

























































































































































































    Baren lands: The increase in farm mechanization forced thousands of tenants from their homes in areas such as Childress County, Texas, in 1938
    As if the dire economy was not enough, the sweeping North American plains suffered from the Dust Bowl, with severe dust storms causing major agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936.
    Millions of acres of farmland became useless, forcing many thousands to leave their homes.
    Migrant workers travelled from farm to farm to pick fruit and other crops at next-to-nothing wages.
    woman
    man
    Faces of the Depression: Dorothea Lange's famous Migrant Mother photo depicts destitute pea pickers in California such as Florence Owens Thompson, who at the age of 32 was already a mother of seven children when she was pictured in Nipomo, California, in 1936. Right: Floyd Burroughs, of Hale County, Alabama


    sprott
    wash basin
    Another era: The post office in Sprott, Alabama, where you can also buy gas and drink Coca-Cola. Right, a peek inside a typical home - devoid of luxuries - in the 1930s

    Dust Bowl
    Bethlehem graveyard and steel mill, Pennsylvania. 1935
    Tough years: A farmer and his two sons in a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936 and, right, Bethlehem in Pennsylvania in 1935 

    Mother watching her children as she prepares the evening meal in Anacostia, DC Frederick Douglass housing project in 1942
    A portrait of a Mexican-American child in Imperial Valley, California, in March of 1935
    Crisis: In 1932, the unemployment rate was at 24.9 per cent, and millions of people were homeless and living in shantytowns
    Examining the causes of the Wall Street Crash, when the US stock market lost a third of its value over six desperate days in October 1929, causing the loss of more than $25billion in individual wealth. 3,000 banks later failed and took investors' savings with them. People who lived through that turbulent period describe the biggest financial catastrophe in history. By 1932 the national unemployment rate had soared past 20 per cent, and millions of men and women were homeless, forced to live on the street and forage for scraps in garbage cans. 
    As a result of widespread bank failures, many people lost their jobs and homes, and were forced to move to makeshift camps and shantytowns. 
    One hundred families were given homesteads in California by the government with nearly an acre of land
    The photo shows a farmer's wife near Gibbs City, Michigan in 1937
    Backbreaking work: Many farmers who lost their land in the crisis were forced to become sharecroppers to eke out a meager living
    But the 41,000 prints that Mr Stryker had shipped to the New York Public Library were largely forgotten. It was assumed that all the images in the New York collection were also in Washington.

    Many of the prints were in the public lending library until the late 1950s, meaning that anyone with a library card could check out an original photograph.
    None of the prints were catalogued until Stephen Pinson, a photography curator, came to the library in 2005. He hired two experts who discovered that some 1,000 photos in the New York collection did not have duplicates in Washington.
    Since then, the New York Public Library has not only digitized more than 1,000 Depression-era images that do not appear in the Library of Congress online catalog, it has also made them available online.
    As the wheels fall off the U.S. economy and the bubbles cannot be re-inflated, fruitless attempts at holding back the tide with incantations (stop, tide, I speak for the U.S. Treasury!) and loopy sand castles (the bottom is in, buy now!) abound. Unresponsive to propaganda, the real world grinds down into a global Depression without visible end.


    If we do nothing, we will be swept along with the Great Descent. Alternatively, if we want to prosper, then we must first gain an integrated understanding of all the interlocking crises we face.


    It doesn't take much thought to anticipate the post-cheap-petroleum era might be fraught with risk and turmoil as the transition--messy and unpredictable in some ways, but predictably messy in any event--takes place. Based on the history so painstakingly assembled by Fischer, we can anticipate:
    --Ever higher prices for what I call the FEW Essentials: food, energy and water.
    --Ever larger government deficits which end in bankruptcy/repudiation of debts/new issue of currency.
    --Rising property/violent crime and illegitimacy.
    --Rising interest rates (by a lot, not a little).
    --Rising income inequality in favor of capital over labor.
    --Continued debasement of the currency.
    --Rising volatility of prices.
    --Rising political unrest and turmoil ("Insurrection" and "Revolution").


    The whole country that America once proudly was is breaking into ever smaller shattering pieces, while you're watching Wall Street numbers go up. Hey, say what you will about God, you can't claim her sense of irony ain't dead on. California will take many years just to appear normal, forget about recovery. The mayor of Detroit throws the towel, without acknowledging he does (as is the spirit of politics). The Motor City is broke, and there's nothing on the horizon that could possibly prevent complete and utter bankruptcy. Neither in Detroit nor anywhere else, that is.
    They're down to praying for miracles now. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It‘s just that there's a million other towns, counties, states and countries praying for the same sort of preferential heavenly treatment. And even if one of them miraculously got what they prayed for, don't you think they'd likely be overrun by all the rest that didn't?



    Banks were collapsing as everyone bailed
    From upside down houses and lifestyles that failed.
    All of the debt that could not be repaid,
    Was now wreaking havoc that would not be stayed.
    Government bailouts now came on the scene
    As political leaders were all very keen
    To keep credit flowing and money being spent,
    So trillions of dollars were foolishly lent,
    In a desperate attempt to keep prices high,
    A fact that they won’t even try to deny.
    These actions were more than a little perverse,
    For adding more debt only made the mess worse.
    This of course left them with one thing to do.
    They needed more sources of tax revenue,
    So small businesses that were already hurting
    Were saddled with costly additional burdens.



    The country can never be restored to health,
    As long as we’re exporting all of our wealth.
    Closing our factories, exporting our jobs
    Turning the people into angry mobs
    And all of this spending with no end in sight
    Is the most direct cause of our national plight!
    How did this happen, where did it begin?
    This foolish game’s left us no way to win.

    Now the brave politicians all deny fault
    As the nations economy grinds to a halt
    Is this the end of the U.S. of A?

    Massive Texas dust storm whippd up by 55mph winds causes chain-reaction car crashes leaving one dead and 17 injured. A dust storm in West Texas triggered a series of accidents Wednesday that killed one person and injured at least 17 others. Authorities were forced to close part of Interstate 27 north of Lubbock, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety said. Corporal John Gonzalez said 23 vehicles were involved in a series of chain-reaction crashes south of Abernathy as sand and dust from nearby fields were whipped by winds gusting up to 55 mph.

    Seeing through the storm: A dust storm in West Texas triggered a series of accidents Wednesday that killed one person and injured at least 17 others 
    Seeing through the storm: A dust storm in West Texas triggered a series of accidents Wednesday that killed one person and injured at least 17 others
    Blocking out the sun: Authorities were forced to close part of Interstate 27 north of Lubbock 
    Blocking out the sun: Authorities were forced to close part of Interstate 27 north of Lubbock. 'It was like a white-out, only this would be black,' Gonzalez said. 'You couldn't see past the hood of your vehicle.'
    Gonzalez said the accidents occurred in the southbound lane of Interstate 27 early Wednesday afternoon. He said about a half-dozen crashes occurred in 'domino fashion' as visibility in the area dropped to zero.
    Danger approaching: The lack of visualization caused a car pile up on a main highwayDanger approaching: The lack of visualization caused a car pile up on a main highway
    Danger approaching: The lack of visualization caused a car pile up on a main highway
    Fatal: A man died at the scene after the sport utility vehicle in which he was traveling (not pictured) slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer 
    Fatal: A man died at the scene after the sport utility vehicle in which he was traveling (not pictured) slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Gonzalez said a man died at the scene after the sport utility vehicle in which he was traveling slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. Gonzalez said he was unable to provide other details about the fatality. None of the other injuries appeared serious, Gonzalez said. The accidents prompted authorities to close about a five-mile stretch of the highway in both directions between Abernathy and New Deal for about six hours.
    Less populated roads: Authorities to close about a five-mile stretch of the highway 
    Less populated roads: Authorities to close about a five-mile stretch of the highway. Although the road was reopened, the DPS issued a news release 'strongly discouraging any travel along the I-27 corridor between Lubbock and Amarillo due to extremely dangerous conditions.' Prolonged drought causes sand to blow off hot, dry dirt, and landowners in the area were being asked to plow their fields, making it more likely that the sand remains settled, Gonzalez said. 'The wind is just terrible, and that's something we hope will help,' he said. Eric Finley, a spokesman for University Medical Center in Lubbock, said 12 people involved in the accidents arrived at that hospital and were treated for what he described as moderate or minor injuries. 'There was nothing to indicate anything major,' he said.

















































    Great depression: American unemployment rises apace 
    Great depression: American unemployment rises apace

     

     

    Bonnie and Clyde: How a pair of two-bit crooks became the world's most famous gangsters. The moment is one of the most iconic in American gangster folklore. Exactly 75 years ago today, at 9.15am on May 23, 1934, two small-time Depression-era bank robbers named Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow died on a lonely road outside Gibsland, Louisiana. They were killed by a 16-second hail of 187 automatic rifle and shotgun rounds, fired at their Ford V8 sedan.

    Bonnie Parker  
    The cigar-smoking gun moll: In fact, Bonnie didn't smoke cigars and she almost certainly never fired a shot
    Immortalised in Arthur Penn's classic 1967 film, in which they were played by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, the pair the American press called 'Romeo & Juliet In A Getaway Car' earned themselves a place in the criminal hall of fame - joining infamous mobsters such as Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.
    But the true story of Bonnie and Clyde is very different from the Hollywood fantasy. And as two new books reveal, it is even more extraordinary.
    Their deaths were certainly violent in the extreme. On the day of their demise, Clyde Barrow, who was just 25, was driving along in his socks, while Bonnie was eating a sandwich in the passenger seat.
    Near Gibsland, they stopped to greet the father of one of their gang members - but it was a trap. A six-man posse of Texas and Louisiana troopers was waiting in ambush and opened fire.
    No warnings were issued and the couple were given no opportunity to surrender. Clyde died instantly - the first shot took off the top of his head.
    But Bonnie was only wounded and began screaming - a scream so terrible that their principal pursuer, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, fired two more shots into the defenceless 23-year old at close range.
    'I hate to bust the cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down,' the laconic Hamer said afterwards. 'But if it wouldn't have been her, it would have been us.'
    Their bodies were riddled with 25 bullets each, even though Bonnie Parker had never been charged with a capital offence.
    The pair had become notorious after two years on the run and the crime scene quickly descended into a bizarre circus.
    Bonnie and Clyde   
    The making of a myth: Two kids from the slums of Dallas, Bonnie and Clyde became history's most famous gangsters
    Three of the posse left to collect the local coroner - but the remaining three allowed souvenir-hunters to swarm over the car.
    One man tried to cut off Clyde's finger with a pocket knife; another attempted to cut off his left ear. Blood-stained pieces of Bonnie's dress were removed, as were locks of her hair.  
    When coroner J.L.Wade arrived, he recalled: 'Nearly everyone had begun collecting souvenirs, such as shell casings and slivers of glass from the shattered car windows.'
    Wade asked Hamer to control the crowd, and ensure that the car - complete with the bodies - was taken intact to the local town of Arcadia.
    But the freak show didn't end there.
    After the four-door saloon had been towed back to the Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Parlour in Arcadia, and the bodies laid out for examination, the coroner allowed sightseers to view the remains.
    Within 12 hours, the town's population had ballooned from just 2,000 to an estimated 12,000, with spectators travelling across the state to see the grisly remains of Bonnie and Clyde - and the price of beer in local bars doubled in price as a result.
    But it wasn't just the public who were fascinated by the death of these two outlaws.The lawmen who shot them also wanted their piece of history.
    Bonnie and Clyde  
    Romeo and Juliet in a getaway car: Bonnie and Clyde's real death was far more horrific than the 1967 film's depiction (pictured, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway). Hamer and his men took the arsenal of machine guns, rifles and pistols they found in the car, as well as the 15 false number plates that Clyde used to confuse his pursuers. All were later sold as souvenirs. Bonnie Parker's clothes and saxophone, which had also been in the Ford, were taken by the lawmen, too. When her family asked for them to be returned, their request was refused. They, too, were sold as souvenirs. Even the 'Death Car', as it was known, became the subject of a bitter battle. Although it had originally been stolen by Bonnie and Clyde from Ruth Warren of Topeka, Kansas, the local Parish Sheriff in Arcadia, Henderson Jordan, a member of Hamer's six-man posse, claimed it as his own.
    Ms Warren hired a lawyer to reclaim it and within weeks was renting out the car for £100 a week - a staggering sum in those days - to Charles W. Stanley, who called himself 'The Crime Doctor'. He took it around the country to help plug his popular crime lectures. Stanley made a fortune out of the fame of Bonnie and Clyde - a fame that was fanned by their funerals. After the bodies had been transported to Dallas, where their families lived, the funeral directors put them on show. Ten thousand people - many of them drunk - turned up to see Clyde Barrow's body before the Dallas police were called to disperse the crowd.
    One man even offered Clyde's father £7,500 for the corpse.
    Bonnie & Clyde   
    Nickel and dime robberies: Bonnie and Clyde's attempts to make big money was laughable. Bonnie Parker's mother, Emma, estimated that 20,000 people filed past her open casket - although for the most part they remained orderly. Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger sent flowers. But amidst all the hype and hoopla, one truth remains.
    The myth that has surrounded Bonnie and Clyde since that fateful morning 75 years ago bears little resemblance to reality. As American reporter John Guinn says in a new book, Bonnie and Clyde were, in fact, 'perhaps the most inept crooks ever'. He calls their two-year crime spree 'as much a reign of error as of terror'.
    To discover the real Bonnie and Clyde, we need to travel back to those dusty roads of Louisiana and find out how two kids from the slums of West Dallas fell in love and traded their lives for a brief moment of celebrity - transmitted across the world by the new cinema newsreels and photo agencies. The pictures of Bonnie Parker, for example, with a cigar between her teeth, beret on her head and a pistol in her hand, swept across the U.S, earning her the sobriquet: The Cigar-Smoking Gun Moll.
    It made her and Clyde Barrow as famous as baseball player Babe Ruth or film star Mary Pickford. But the reality was quite different. Parker didn't smoke cigars and she almost certainly never fired a shot. Clyde Barrow had mocked up the photograph to sustain their myth as glamorous gangsters. In the flesh, they were as far removed from the images created by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as it is possible to imagine. For a start, Bonnie was barely 4ft 11in tall and weighed just over 6 and a half stone, while Clyde was only 5ft 3in and a little over eight stone. Often described as 'short and scrawny', he liked to wear a hat to make him look taller. Both were also crippled. Clyde walked with a pronounced limp because in 1932 he'd hacked off his left big toe and part of a second toe to get a transfer out of the notoriously tough Eastham Prison Farm in Texas.
    Meanwhile, Bonnie's left leg was badly injured in a car accident the same year.
    She was trapped in the car when it burst into flames, and escaping battery acid burned her left leg down to the bone. She could barely walk for the last 18 months of her life,and either hopped everywhere or was carried by Clyde.
    Their lives certainly weren't glamorous either, spending night after night sleeping in the back of a stolen car hidden deep in the woods and eating cold pork and beans from a tin. Even as bank robbers, they were bunglers - and knew it. Bonnie and Clyde mainly committed what Guinn calls 'nickel and dime robberies' from ' mom and pop grocery stores and service stations', stealing between $5 and $10 from hardworking people struggling to survive the Depression and the Dust Bowl drought that devastated America's farming heartland.
    So how did this young couple come to hypnotise America? Born in Rowena, Texas, on October 1, 1910, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was the second of three children born to her bricklayer father Charles, who died when she was just four.
    After his death, her destitute mother, Emma, moved the family to the slums of West Dallas, known then as 'the Devil's back porch'. Poor though she was, Bonnie was clever, attractive and strong-willed. At school, she excelled at creative writing, particularly poetry, and rapidly became a warm-up speaker at rallies for local politicians. She dreamed of becoming a star on Broadway, but nothing materialised, and just before her 16th birthday she married a neighbourhood thug called Roy Thornton. The couple separated in 1929, but they never divorced, and Bonnie was still wearing Thornton's wedding ring when she died alongside her partner-in-crime five years later. Born just south of Dallas, on March 24, 1909, Clyde Chestnut Barrow, was the fifth of seven children. His was a poor, farming family, who were forced off their land by the drought.
    Bonnie and Clyde  
    Robin Hood adventures: During one robbery, the pair got away with just $1.75
    A car fanatic, he was first arrested in 1926 when police confronted him over a rental car he'd failed to return. His second arrest came with his elder brother Ivan 'Buck' Barrow, when the two were caught stealing turkeys. The brothers would quickly progress to stealing cars. Buck would eventually become a member of the bank-robbing Barrow Gang, formed by his younger brother. His wife, Blanche, would also join the gang.
    On January 5, 1930, one of Clyde Barrow's friends invited him to a party, where he met Bonnie for the first time.
    With his dark wavy hair and dancing brown eyes, she was instantly attracted to him. She told friends he had nice clothes 'and fancy cars', even if she knew they might be stolen. Bonnie's mother said later: 'As crazy as she'd been about Roy, she never worshipped him as she did Clyde.' The gangster love story that was to enthrall a nation had begun. Less than two months after their meeting, Clyde was arrested and spent the next two years in jail, some of it at Eastham Prison Farm. Prison life did not treat the diminutive Barrow kindly: he was repeatedly beaten up and sodomised by fellow inmate Ed Crowder. In late October 1931, Clyde responded by beating Crowder to death with an iron pipe - his first killing. But a fellow prisoner, already serving life for murder, confessed to the crime as a favour and Clyde was never even charged. At the end of January the following year, Barrow took an axe to his toes in an effort to escape the brutal regime at Eastham. Ironically, he was paroled just five days later. Reunited with Bonnie, Clyde resolved never to return to jail and, to take revenge on the Texas prison system, vowed to organise a jail-break from Eastham.
    John Dillinger
    Gangster: John Dillinger was another of America's most famous criminals
    In the next two years, Bonnie and Clyde's haphazard exploits became ever more dramatic, as small-scale robberies led to desperate attempts on banks, and the Barrow Gang roamed across five rural states. Their attempts to make big money were at times laughable, though. One risky bank bust saw them get away with just $1.75. Despite this, 'America thrilled to their Robin Hood adventures', in the words of one columnist. 'The presence of a female, Bonnie, escalated the sincerity of their intentions to make them something unique and individual - even at times heroic.' The gang usually kidnapped, rather than killed, any lawmen they encountered, releasing them with the money to get home - which only helped to fuel their celebrity. But there was nothing heroic about their gang's escape when they were surrounded by police at a motel near Kansas City in July 1933. They blasted their way out using Clyde's favoured Browning Automatic Rifles, but Clyde's elder brother Buck was shot and injured, while Buck's wife, Blanche, was all but blinded by flying glass. Six days later, they were surrounded again at an abandoned amusement park near Dexter, Iowa. Bonnie and Clyde escaped, but Buck was shot in the back and Blanche was again hit by flying glass. Buck died five days later. Increasingly desperate, Clyde sought reinforcements by organising a break- out from Eastham Prison Farm in January 1934, releasing at least four prisoners, three of whom joined his gang. But during the jailbreak, a guard was killed, which brought the full weight of Texas law enforcement down on the Barrow Gang. Former Texas Ranger Captain Frank Hamer was charged with catching Bonnie and Clyde - for a fee. Before he could do so, however, Clyde and one of the prisoners he'd released, Henry Methven, killed two highway patrolmen in Southlake, Texas, on April 1, 1934. Those killings soured the public's attitude to Bonnie and Clyde, and indirectly led to their deaths - though Methven later confessed he alone committed the killings.
    It was Methven's father who tempted Bonnie and Clyde to that lonely road outside Gibsland just a few weeks later, in exchange for a promise of leniency for his son. And so, on that warm, muggy May morning 75 years ago, Bonnie and Clyde drove into gangster history. In a twist of fate, within months America's other most famous gangsters met a similar fate. In July, John Dillinger was gunned down; in October, Pretty Boy Floyd was killed by Federal agents; and in November, Baby Face Nelson was shot to death. But the infamy of Bonnie and Clyde outlives that of their rivals. And should anyone doubt it, they need only remember that their bullet-riddled Ford, along with Clyde's blood-stained shirt, is on display in a Nevada casino to this very day.














































    So what can we learn from the Crash of 1929 to avoid a 21st Century Great Depression?

    By the end of September 1929, the American stock market on New York’s Wall Street was riding the wave of a decade of intoxicating growth.
    The Roaring Twenties — that era of the Jazz Age, bootleggers and gangsters like Al Capone — had seen millions of ordinary Americans caught up in the excitement of owning shares, and making money.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average of leading shares had grown five-fold in the previous five years.
    Wall Street 1929 and the City today
    Dark times: Wall Street in 1929, left, and Lehmen Brothers' staff on Tuesday
    As the social historian Cecil Roberts was to put it later: ‘Everyone was playing the market. Stocks soared dizzily.
    'I found it hard not to be engulfed. I had invested my American earnings in good stocks.
    'Should I sell for a profit? Everyone said, “Hang on — it’s a rising market.”’
    On the last day of a visit to New York that September, Roberts went to have his hair cut.
    As the barber swept the clean white sheet from his shoulders and bent to brush his collar, he said softly: ‘Buy Standard Gas. I’ve doubled. It’s good for another double.’
    Stunned, Roberts walked upstairs and said to himself: ‘If the hysteria has reached the barber-level, something must soon happen.’ It did.
    On October 3, the day after Britain’s widely respected Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Snowden, had warned that the Americans had got themselves into a ‘speculative orgy’ on Wall Street, the New York stock market started to fall.
    Today, almost 80 years later, history seems to be on the verge of repeating itself — with the Dow Jones index of leading shares on Wall Street falling, followed by major stock markets around the world.
    Back in 1929, as October continued, so the fall in the value of stocks and shares steepened.
    On Monday, October 21, six million shares swapped hands, the largest number in the history of the exchange.
    But then, on the morning of Thursday, October 24, 1929, it went into freefall. When the New York Stock Exchange opened there were no buyers, only sellers.
    The Great Crash had begun. On the floor of the Exchange, there was pandemonium.
    Watched by none other than Winston Churchill, who was in the United States on a speaking tour and had come to see how his American investments were faring, there was ‘bedlam’ with ‘the jobbers (trying to buy or sell stocks and shares) caught in the middle’.
    As Selwyn Parker, author of a new book on the Crash puts it: ‘In vain attempts to be heard above the din, they were screaming orders to sell; when that did not work, they hurled their chits at the chalk girls.
    'Others, transfixed by the plummeting share prices, simply stood where they were in an almost catatonic state.
    ‘What Churchill was watching,’ Parker goes on to say ‘was the collapse of the collective nerve of American shareholders.’  
    On the street, the crowds of onlookers grew ever bigger as rumours of the falls swept New York — with thousands upon thousands of ordinary Americans fearful that they were about to lose everything.
    By midday police riot squads had to be called to disperse what The New York Times itself called ‘the hysterical crowds’, but they had little or no effect. Rumours spread everywhere — one was that 11 speculators had killed themselves that very morning, though it was not true.
    One poor workman on the roof of an office building nearby found himself watched by the crowds below — all convinced that he was about to throw himself to the street below.
    1929 Crash
    Panic: Investors at New York's stock exchange in 1929 as share prices tumbled
    He didn’t, but the legend that one banker did throw himself to his death was to become one of the abiding myths of what became known as ‘Black Thursday’.
    Almost 13 million shares changed hands on the NYSE that day, the most that had ever done so, and yet the worst of the falls in value were recouped that same afternoon — in the wake of a rescue attempt by leading bankers who had held an emergency meeting at the offices of JP Morgan.
    Yet the rally didn’t last. By Monday, October 28, the sellers were back, and on Tuesday October 29, the Great Crash finally came to a dreadful conclusion in what The New York Times described as ‘the most disastrous day’ in the American stock market’s history.
    On that day — ‘Black Tuesday’ — losses approached £4.5 billion ( equivalent to £800 billion today), and more than 16.4million shares changed hands.
    No matter what the bankers, or wealthy investors like John D. Rockefeller, tried to do to stem the tide of sellers, their efforts were pointless. They were swept aside, as huge blocks of shares were sold, and confidence drained out of the market.
    Groups of men — ‘with here and there a woman’ in the words of one observer — stood beside the new ‘ticker-tape’ machines, which monitored the price of stocks and shares, watching as their fortunes vanished in front of their eyes.
    One reporter noted: ‘The crowds about the ticker-tape, like friends around the bedside of a stricken friend, reflected in their faces the story the tape was telling.
    There were no smiles. There were no tears either. Just the cameraderie of fellow sufferers.’ The comedian Eddie Cantor lost everything, but kept his sense of humour.
    ‘Well, folks,’ he told his radio audience that evening, ‘they got me in the market, just like they got everybody else.
    'In fact, they’re not calling it the stock market any longer. They’re calling it the stuck market.
    'Everyone’s stuck. Well, except my uncle. He got a good break. He died in September.’
    Groucho Marx, star of Duck Soup and Animal Crackers, lost £400,000, while heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey, one of the first multi-millionaire sportsmen, lost £1.5million.
    Even the man who was later accused of triggering the stock market boom, economist Professor Irving Fisher, lost everything.
    Headline event: The Daily Mail from October 25, 1929
    Just four months earlier, Fisher had told the readers of an article entitled Everybody Ought To Be Rich: ‘If a man saves £7.50 a week, and invests in good common stocks, and allows the dividends and rights to accumulate, at the end of 20 years he will have at least £40,000 and an income from investments of around £200 a month. He will be rich.
    ‘And because income can do that, I am firm in my belief that anyone not only can be rich, but ought to be rich.’
    Small wonder that the most popular song of 1929 was Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies — with its unforgettable lines: ‘Blue skies smiling at me/Nothing but blue skies, do I see.’
    Millions of Americans had taken Fisher’s advice, often borrowing the money to do so. And, in another parallel with today’s financial crisis, ordinary people were encouraged to take exceptional risks — risks they did not appreciate, and which they would come to regret.
    Some had their doubts, but not many. One investor later recalled: I knew something was terribly wrong because I heard bellboys, everybody, talking about the stock market.’
    But, just like today, many of them were gulled by the slick salesmen of the investment houses and banks.
    As Parker explains: ‘In the five-year run up to the Crash, gullible investors borrowed wildly to get into the market, and many were systematically duped by Wall Street and the stock market fraternity at large.’
    After the Crash, one expert in the Department of Commerce estimated that almost half the £25 billion of stocks and shares sold in the United States during the Roaring Twenties was ‘undesirable or worthless’.
    But the other half clearly reflected the growing American economy — with shares in General Electric, for example, tripling in value in the 18 months before the Crash; while a £5,000 investment in General Motors in 1920 would have produced an astonishing £750,000 by 1929.
    By the end of 1928 most investors had come to expect incredible gains, and the presidential election campaign that November did nothing to quell the fever.
    Indeed, the Republican candidate Herbert Hoover, who’d been commerce secretary throughout the 1920s, took to the hustings to announce: ‘We shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation.’
    It was to take a generation — and a World War — to see any semblance of prosperity return.
    The Great Crash of 1929 plunged America, and the rest of the world, into an economic depression that was to last for the next decade.
    As one commentator memorably explained afterwards: ‘Anyone who bought stocks in mid 1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even.’
    So why did the Crash — which had been precipitated by government increases in interest rates to cool off the stock market boom — turn into a depression?
    Simply because of the uncertainty the Crash fuelled.
    No one knew what consequences of the Crash were going to be — so everyone decided to stop trading until things settled down.
    Banks stopped lending money. Consumers stopped buying durable goods from shops.
    The stores, in turn, stopped buying from the manufacturers.
    Firms, therefore, cut back on production and laid off workers. And all of this fed on itself to make the depression still worse.
    In the following ten years 13 million Americans lost their jobs, with 12,000 losing their jobs every single working day.
    Some 20,000 companies went bankrupt, including 1,616 banks, and one in every 20 farmers was evicted from his land.  
    In 1932, the worst year of the Great Depression which continued until the beginning of the war, an astounding 23,000 Americans committed suicide in a single year.
    And the pain was not restricted to the U.S.
    Weimar Germany, which had built its foundations in the aftermath of World War I with the help of American loans, found itself struggling with ever mounting debts.
    This, in turn, helped to usher in the brownshirts of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist party.
    The impact on American self-confidence was devastating.
    As the Broadway lyricist Yip Harburg, who lived through those times, explained almost 40 years later: ‘We thought American business was the Rock of Gibraltar.
    'We were the prosperous nation, and nothing could stop us now. There was a feeling of continuity. If you made it, it was there for ever. Suddenly the big dream exploded’.
    Another writer, who lived through those days, M. A. Hamilton, said the Great Crash of 1929 shattered the dreams of millions of Americans —
    and that the average working man ‘found his daily facts reeling and swimming about him, in a nightmare of continuous disappointment’.
    ‘The bottom had fallen out of the market, for good,’ wrote Hamilton. ‘And that market had a horrid connection with his bread and butter, his automobile, and his instalment purchases.
    'Worst of all, unemployment became a hideous fact and one that lacerated and tore at self-respect.’
    Suddenly, there were lines of men and women queuing up for free soup from the soup kitchens established by the Salvation Army, or provided by the wealthy men who had not been hurt financially, like the millionaire publisher William Randolph Hearst.
    And everywhere Americans were struggling to eke out a living.
    Once-successful businessmen were condemned to selling apples on street corners in New York, and, if they couldn’t afford apples, they offered to shine shoes.
    By the summer of 1932, according to the police, there were about 7,000 of these ‘shine boys’ making a living on New York’s streets.
    Just three years before they were almost non-existent and most were boys under 17.
    The New York Times reported ‘an army of new salesmen, peddling everything from large rubber balls to cheap neckties’, while unemployment also brought back the ‘newsboy’ (often men in their 40s) in increasing numbers.
    ‘He avoids the busy corners, where news-stands are frequent,’ the paper explained. ‘And hawks his papers in the side streets with surprising success.
    'His best client is the man who is too tired to walk down to the corner for a paper’.
    The Great Depression was an economic apocalypse that no one could possibly wish to see happen again. But could it?
    There are worrying parallels. The American economist J. K. Galbraith blamed the Great Depression that followed the Crash on credit growth, as did his British counterpart, Lionel Robbins.
    And few doubt that it is the credit crunch — as well as the greed among bankers who took unacceptable risks with their clients’ money — that lies at the heart of the present falls in stock markets around the world.
    Certainly, Selwyn Parker believes this. In the past decade, he writes, ‘ somehow the banks managed to slip the regulators’ leash, distributing credit around the world like so much chaff. Casinos were better regulated than the banking industry.’
    The result of this credit binge, he adds, is the record levels of personal debt that we are seeing now, which leads, when things start to go wrong, ‘to general belt-tightening, fast-slowing growth and banks hoarding capital — the conditions we have right now’.
    ‘The financial system and people’s material wealth today,’ Parker warns darkly, are much more vulnerable than anybody thought.’
    As stock markets fall around the world, we can only pray we are not on the brink of another economic apocalypse.
    But history suggests that the omens are far from good.

     

    One in three U.S. counties is dying off as aging populations and weak local economies drive away young people

    • Census data show that 1,135 of the nation's 3,143 counties are now experiencing 'natural decrease,' where deaths exceed births
    • That's up from roughly 880 U.S. counties, or 1 in 4, in 2009
    • Maine and West Virginia were the only two states where deaths exceed births, which have dropped precipitously after the recent recession
    • New York ranks at the top in new immigrants among large metro areas, but also ranks at the top for young residents moving away
    • The Texas metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston and Austin continued to be big draws for young adults, ranking first, second and fourth among large metro areas in domestic migration
    A record number of U.S. counties - more than 1 in 3 - are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.
    New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.
    The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year.
    Dying off: A record number of U.S. counties are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies
    Dying off: A record number of U.S. counties are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies
    'Immigrants are innovators, entrepreneurs, they're making things happen. They create jobs,' said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, at an immigration conference in his state last week. Saying Michigan should be a top destination for legal immigrants to come and boost Detroit and other struggling areas, Snyder made a special appeal: 'Please come here.'
    The growing attention on immigrants is coming mostly from areas of the Midwest and Northeast, which are seeing many of their residents leave after years of staying put during the downturn. With a slowly improving U.S. economy, young adults are now back on the move, departing traditional big cities to test the job market mostly in the South and West, which had sustained the biggest hits in the housing bust.
    Census data show that 1,135 of the nation's 3,143 counties are now experiencing 'natural decrease,' where deaths exceed births. That's up from roughly 880 U.S. counties, or 1 in 4, in 2009. Already apparent in Japan and many European nations, natural decrease is now increasingly evident in large swaths of the U.S., much of it rural. Despite increasing deaths, the U.S. population as a whole continues to grow, boosted by immigration from abroad and relatively higher births among the mostly younger migrants from Mexico, Latin America and Asia.
    'These counties are in a pretty steep downward spiral,' said Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer and sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire, who researched the findings. 'The young people leave and the older adults stay in place and age. Unless something dramatic changes — for instance, new development such as a meatpacking plant to attract young Hispanics — these areas are likely to have more and more natural decrease.'
    The areas of natural decrease stretch from industrial areas near Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the vineyards outside San Francisco to the rural areas of east Texas and the Great Plains. A common theme is a waning local economy, such as farming, mining or industrial areas of the Rust Belt. They also include some retirement communities in Florida, although many are cushioned by a steady flow of new retirees each year.
    A vacant, boarded up house is seen in Detroit's once thriving Brush Park neighborhood. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to attract immigrants to the state to boost population
    Moving out: A vacant, boarded up house is seen in Detroit's once thriving Brush Park neighborhood. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to attract immigrants to the state to boost population
    FEDERAL FUNDING FUELS STEADY GROWTH IN URBAN AREAS
    Since 2010, many of the fastest-growing U.S. metro areas have also been those that historically received a lot of federal dollars, including Fort Stewart, Ga., Jacksonville, N.C., Crestview, Fla., and Charleston-North Charleston, S.C., all home to military bases
    Chattahoochee County, Ga., home to Fort Benning, was the nation's fastest-growing county, increasing 10.1 percent in the last year.
    Per-capita federal spending rose from about $5,300 among the fastest-growing metros from 2000 to 2010, to about $8,200 among the fastest-growing metros from 2011 to 2012.
    In the last year, Maine joined West Virginia as the only two entire states where deaths exceed births, which have dropped precipitously after the recent recession. As a nation, the U.S. population grew by just 0.75 percent last year, stuck at historically low levels not seen since 1937.
    Johnson said the number of dying counties is rising not only because of fewer births but also increasing mortality as 70 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 move into their older years. 'I expect natural decrease to remain high in the future,' he said.
    Among the 20 fastest-growing large metropolitan areas last year, 16 grew faster than in 2011 and most of them are located in previously growing parts of the Sun Belt or Mountain West. Among the slowest-growing or declining metropolitan areas, most are now doing worse than in 2011 and they are all located in the Northeast and Midwest.
    New York ranks at the top in new immigrants among large metro areas, but also ranks at the top for young residents moving away.
    In contrast, the Texas metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston and Austin continued to be big draws for young adults, ranking first, second and fourth among large metro areas in domestic migration due to diversified economies that include oil and gas production. Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando also saw gains.
    By region, growth in the Northeast slowed last year to 0.3 percent, the lowest since 2007; in the Midwest, growth dipped to 0.25 percent, the lowest in at least a decade. In the South and West, growth rates ticked up to 1.1 percent and 1.04 percent, respectively.
    'The brakes that were put on migration during the Great Recession appear to be easing up,' said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the migration data. 'Native migrants are becoming more 'footloose' — following the geographic ups and downs of the labor market — than are immigrants, who have tended to locate in established ethnic communities in big cities.'
    'Immigration levels are not where they were a decade ago, but their recent uptick demonstrates the important safety valve they can be for areas with stagnating populations,' he said.
    Mark Mather, an associate vice president at the Population Reference Bureau, noted that political efforts to downsize government and reduce federal spending could also have a significant impact on future population winners and losers.
    Since 2010, many of the fastest-growing U.S. metro areas have also been those that historically received a lot of federal dollars, including Fort Stewart, Ga., Jacksonville, N.C., Crestview, Fla., and Charleston-North Charleston, S.C., all home to military bases. Per-capita federal spending rose from about $5,300 among the fastest-growing metros from 2000 to 2010, to about $8,200 among the fastest-growing metros from 2011 to 2012.
    'Federal funding has helped many cities weather the decline in private sector jobs,' Mather said.
    Other findings:
    -Roughly 46 percent of rural counties just beyond the edge of metropolitan areas experienced natural decrease, compared to 17 percent of urban counties.
    -As a whole, the population of non-metropolitan areas last year declined by 0.1 percent, compared with growth of 1 percent for large metro areas and 0.7 percent for small metropolitan areas.
    -In the last year, four metro areas reached population milestones: Los Angeles hit 13 million, Philadelphia reached 6 million, Las Vegas crossed 2 million and Grand Rapids, Mich., passed 1 million.
    -Chattahoochee County, Ga., home to Fort Benning, was the nation's fastest-growing county, increasing 10.1 percent in the last year.
    The census estimates are based on local records of births and deaths, Internal Revenue Service records of people moving within the United States and census statistics on immigrants.























































































































    Back-breaking work: A group of Filipino labourers cut lettuce at a farm in Salinas, California, in 1935
    Back-breaking work: A group of Filipino labourers cut lettuce at a farm in Salinas, California, in 1935
    Jitterbuggin': A couple dance enthusiastically in a bar in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1939, a time of segregation
    Jitterbuggin': A couple dance enthusiastically in a bar in Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1939, a time of segregation
    Rundown: Houses in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1936, alongside ads promoting movies from the time such as Love Before Breakfast starring Carole Lombard
    Rundown: Houses in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1936, alongside ads promoting movies from the time such as Love Before Breakfast starring Carole Lombard
    Barely surviving: Bud Fields and his family at his home in Alabama in 1935
    Barely surviving: Bud Fields and his family at his home in Alabama in 1935. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to prairie lands in the 1930s. The phenomenon was caused by severe drought combined with farming methods that did not include crop rotation or other techniques such as soil terracing and wind-breaking trees to prevent wind erosion.
    During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away with the prevailing winds. At times, the clouds blackened the sky, reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C.
    Millions of acres of farmland were damaged, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes; many of these families migrated to California and other states, where they found economic conditions little better during the Great Depression than those they had left. Filmmaker Ken Burns has produced a new documentary on the Dust Bowl airing on PBS stations this month.
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    1
    In this March 25, 1935 file photo, children cover their faces during a swirling dust storm while pumping water in Springfield, Colo. The Dust Bowl was manmade, born of bad farming techniques across millions of acres in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. Now, even as bad as the drought is in some of those same states, soil conservation practices developed in the aftermath of the Dust Bowl have kept the nightmarish storms from recurring. (AP Photo, File) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    2
    Dust bowl farmer raising fence to keep it from being buried under drifting sand in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. Photo by Arthur Rothstein #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    3
    Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. An Arkansas farmer and his sons are shown in 1936 in the dust bowl. (AP Photo/Arthur Rothstein/FSA) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    4
    About to be engulfed in a gigantic dust cloud is a peaceful little ranch in Boise City, Oklahoma where the top soil is being dried and blown away. This photo was taken on April 15, 1935. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    5
    Liberal (vicinity), Kan. Soil blown by dust bowl winds piled up in large drifts on a farm. Photo by Arthur Rothstein #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    6
    One of the pioneer women of the Oklahoma Panhandle dust bowl. Photo by Arthur Rothstein #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    7
    Dust bowl farmer driving tractor with young son near Cland, New Mexico. Photo by Dorothea Lange #

    Cast off by the storm: Newly colorized portraits show the Dust Bowl refugees left to live in shacks after fleeing their homes during the Dirty Thirties

    • These moving images show the faces of migrants who had to leave Oklahoma after storms of the 1930s
    • Were forced to live in tents and wooden huts while they waited for the ecological catastrophe to subside
    • The stunning shots were painstakingly colourised over a period of 60 hours by artist Matt Loughrey, 38 




    Their faces gaunt and longing for home, these are the refugees displaced by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s shown in newly colorized portraits.
    Striking images taken by photographer Dorothea Lange show families living in tents and shacks in sparse surroundings as they wait to be returned to Oklahoma after arid storms decimated their prairie homeland.
    The heart-rending portraits show a miserable woman cradling her baby and another mother full of sorrow after losing her child to exposure.
    These newly-colorized images taken by Dorothea Lange show the refugees of the Dust Bowl living in tents and shacks while waiting to return home to Oklahoma. This photo, showing destitute pea picker Florence Owens Thompson in 1936, became famous after being captured in Nipomo, California
    These newly-colorized images taken by Dorothea Lange show the refugees of the Dust Bowl living in tents and shacks while waiting to return home to Oklahoma. This photo, showing destitute pea picker Florence Owens Thompson in 1936, became famous after being captured in Nipomo, California
    This child, wearing a ragged top slung over her shoulders, was pictured in an Oklahoma City shantytown in 1936. The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s
    This child, wearing a ragged top slung over her shoulders, was pictured in an Oklahoma City shantytown in 1936. The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s
    This peach picker, shown in Musella, Georgia, in July 1936, was one of thousands of people who had to flee their homes after dust clouds ruined farmland in their native Oklahoma. These stunning shots were painstakingly colorized by over a period of 60 hours by Matt Loughrey, 38, of My Colourful Past, based in Westport, Ireland
    This peach picker, shown in Musella, Georgia, in July 1936, was one of thousands of people who had to flee their homes after dust clouds ruined farmland in their native Oklahoma. These stunning shots were painstakingly colorized by over a period of 60 hours by Matt Loughrey, 38, of My Colourful Past, based in Westport, Ireland
    This image shows a shack on the edge of a pea field. A man leans on an old car while cradling a child in his arms. Migrants had to take up temporary agricultural work in their new surroundings before they were able to return home. 'These are the faces and places of transience, uprooting and endurance,' Mr Loughrey said
    This image shows a shack on the edge of a pea field. A man leans on an old car while cradling a child in his arms. Migrants had to take up temporary agricultural work in their new surroundings before they were able to return home. 'These are the faces and places of transience, uprooting and endurance,' Mr Loughrey said

    'I felt it was somehow possible to revisit that era and set to work on a documentary. These are the faces and places of transience, uprooting and endurance.
    'Every face tells a story, and the faces of these migrants really hit me for six. These are very human images, they are self-reflective and educational.
    'The message is always the same, in that our perception of time is skewed, colour brings about a feeling of connection and immediacy where the subjects are concerned.'
    This devastating photo, taken in Holtville, California in 1937, shows a young mother staring into the ground after losing her two-year-old child to exposure. Hundreds of people died during the ecological disaster of the 1930s, many from pneumonia caused by long-term exposure to dust
    Severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes) caused the phenomenon. This young mother, 18, was forced to move from her home in California with her young child. She was photographed by Dorothea Lange in March 1937
    Severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes) caused the phenomenon. This young mother, 18, was forced to move from her home in California with her young child. She was photographed by Dorothea Lange in March 1937
    The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. Pictured: A man in tired-looking grey overalls sucks on the stump of a cigarette while looking across at his shantytown home. The image was taken in California in 1936
    The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. Pictured: A man in tired-looking grey overalls sucks on the stump of a cigarette while looking across at his shantytown home. The image was taken in California in 1936
    The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families, who were often known as 'Okies' because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states. This photo, captured in 1937, shows a family-of-four who were just about to be returned home
    The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families, who were often known as 'Okies' because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states. This photo, captured in 1937, shows a family-of-four who were just about to be returned home
    The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s.
    Severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes) caused the phenomenon.
    The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.
    The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms, with Oklahoma and Texas especially badly affected.
    Many of these families, who were often known as 'Okies' because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states. 
    But these desperate migrants found that the Great Depression had rendered economic conditions there little better than those they had left.
    Families were forced to load all of their possessions into a trailer and make their way towards temporary encampments, where they earned their keep working in nearby fields. This image was taken by another photographer, Arthur Rothstein, and shows a mother and child in Montana in 1936
    Families were forced to load all of their possessions into a trailer and make their way towards temporary encampments, where they earned their keep working in nearby fields. This image was taken by another photographer, Arthur Rothstein, and shows a mother and child in Montana in 1936
    Florence Owens Thompson shown again in another photo taken by Dorothea Lange in Nipomo, California, in 1936. The pained expression on her face, and the fact she was caring for a baby, who is dressed in dusty rags, made Florence one of the most moving symbols of the Dust Bowl tragedy
    Florence Owens Thompson shown again in another photo taken by Dorothea Lange in Nipomo, California, in 1936. The pained expression on her face, and the fact she was caring for a baby, who is dressed in dusty rags, made Florence one of the most moving symbols of the Dust Bowl tragedy
    Workers on the pea fields had to be fed in giant tents, like this one in Calipatria, California. Taken in 1939 by Dorothea Lange, this photo shows supper time at the tent. A man in denim overalls is seen leaning over a stove as a child waits expectantly behind him
    Workers on the pea fields had to be fed in giant tents, like this one in Calipatria, California. Taken in 1939 by Dorothea Lange, this photo shows supper time at the tent. A man in denim overalls is seen leaning over a stove as a child waits expectantly behind him
    Mr Loughrey worked on these photographs as part of the upcoming documentary 'Dust Bowl in Color' narrated by David Brower. Pictured: A migratory laborer's wife peers out off the door of her wooden shack in a photo taken in 1938 near Childress, Texas
    Mr Loughrey worked on these photographs as part of the upcoming documentary 'Dust Bowl in Color' narrated by David Brower. Pictured: A migratory laborer's wife peers out off the door of her wooden shack in a photo taken in 1938 near Childress, Texas

    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    8
    In this April 18, 1935, file photo provided by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration from the George E. Marsh Album, a dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas. (AP Photo/NOAA George E. Marsh Album, File) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    9
    The first government "greener pastures" migration started April 24, 1937 from northeastern Colorado to southwestern Colorado irrigated lands. More than 100 families will be moved from "Dust Bowl" lands to the federal project. The Hill and Kovach families load household goods for the westward trek. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    The winds of the "dust bowl" have piled up large drifts of soil against this farmer's barn near Liberal, Kansas. Photo by Arthur Rothstein #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Eastern Colorado, where people are wearing gauze masks as protection against dust storms, even the horses need an air filter.Two farm children tie a towel over their saddle horse's nose, March 23, year unknown. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    This is a 1935 photo of a cloud of top soil parched by drought and picked up by winds and moving down a road near Boise City, Oklahoma. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Keeping the rails clear so trains could go through was one of the major tasks of rail road men in western Kansas during the dust storms. Here is a group sweeping the dust from the tracks, April, 13, 1935, Syracuse, Ks. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Dust Bowl farm. Coldwater District, north of Dalhart, Texas. This house is occupied; most of the houses in this district have been abandoned. Photo by Dorothea Lange #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Four families, three of them related with fifteen children, from the Dust Bowl in Texas in an overnight roadside camp near Calipatria, California. Dorothea Lange #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    By the time the drought and grasshoppers get thru with farmer Albert West's wheat planting, he'll have a few skimpy handfuls of straw, unless it rains soon, July 7, 1936, Hardin, Mt. Neither rain nor crop prospects look promising. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    A dust storm blows through Clayton, NM, May 29, 1937, a relatively common occurrence in the Dust Bowl town. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    An unidentified mother of five children from Oklahoma is shown on May 18, 1937 in California near Fresno where they now live as migratory farm workers as a result of the Dust Bowl. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Son of farmer in dust bowl area in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. Photo by Arthur Rothstein #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Migrant workers with their families from the dust bowl have been touring California in Aug. 1942, following the harvests. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoys a chat with farmer Henry Wilbur, his wife and daughter, Darleen, as he tours the dust bowl areas, Aug. 29, 1936. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    Rexford G. Tugwell, rural resettlement administrator and member of the U.S. presiden'ts drought commission, scoops a handful of loose sand which covers what was once a prosperous farm near Dalhart, Texas, Aug. 20, 1936 during the Dust Bowl. (AP Photo) #
    Photos: The Dust Bowl
    In this March 29, 1937 file photo, the desolation in this part of the Dust Bowl is graphically illustrated by these rippling dunes banked against a fence, farm home, barn and windmill in Guymon, Oklahoma. This property was abandoned by its owner when destructive dust clouds forced him to seek fortune elsewhere.

























































    The derelict homes of a bankrupt city:

    • The city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks
    • Could be forced into what would be the largest-ever municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States
    • Crime rate is rising and jobless rate twice figure for the country as a whole
    A vandalised home covered with red spray paint and smashed windows sits vacant in an east side neighborhood of Detroit.
    The street used to be a busy hub of families, but its occupants have fled their homes leaving whole blocks empty and dark.
    The city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks or months and ultimately be forced into what would be the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States.
    Ghost town: A vacant and blighted home, covered with red spray paint, sits alone in an east side neighborhood once full of homes in Detroit
    Ghost town: A vacant and blighted home, covered with red spray paint, sits alone in an east side neighborhood once full of homes in Detroit
    The story of Detroit's decline is decades old - its tax revenue and population have shrunk and labor costs have remained out of unfeasible
    The story of Detroit's decline is decades old - its tax revenue and population have shrunk and labor costs have remained out of unfeasible
    Signs of decline are everywhere in Detroit - crime is rising with the murder rate of one per 1,719 people last year, more than 11 times the rate in New York City.
    The jobless rate is above 18 percent, more than twice rate for the country as a whole. At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, luxury was in the air. Pricey new Bentleys and Maseratis glittered - including a Maserati 2014 Quattroporte with a $132,000 price tag; U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and dignitaries rubbed shoulders; and many of the well-heeled attendees ponied up for a $300-a-ticket black-tie charity ball.
    Cuts: Spray paint on the front of a vacant and blighted home says the gas and water utilities have been turned off in the east side neighborhood
    Cuts: Spray paint on the front of a vacant and blighted home says the gas and water utilities have been turned off in the east side neighborhood
    Running out: The city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks or months
    Running out: The city's budget problems have deepened to such an extent that it could run out of cash in a matter of weeks or months
    But in a city that is slowly dying, the glitz didn't extend much beyond the Cobo Center exhibition hall.
    General Motors Co (GM.N) and Chrysler (FIA.MI), which along with Ford Motor Co (F.N) gave the Motor City its identity, survived near-death experiences after filing for bankruptcy during the financial crisis.
    Now, Detroit itself is edging closer to a similar precipice, only unlike the automakers, its chances of getting a federal bailout are almost nonexistent.
    The story of Detroit's decline is decades old: Its tax revenue and population have shrunk and labor costs have remained out of sync.
    ced into what would be the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States
    Bankrupt: Detroit could ultimately be forced into what would be the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States
    Frustrated by the lack of concrete progress, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, last month appointed a team to scour the city's books.
    The audit could result in a state takeover of Detroit's finances through the appointment of an emergency financial manager.
    Such a manager, who would seize control of the city's checkbook, could then propose federal bankruptcy court as the best option.
    Snyder, who has called the situation 'a crisis in terms of financial affairs,' said the team would deliver its report in February.
    Investigation: Frustrated by the lack of concrete progress, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, last month appointed a team to scour the city's books
    Investigation: Frustrated by the lack of concrete progress, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, last month appointed a team to scour the city's books
    'Detroit is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy after the City Council has failed to make the necessary cuts to deal with having a smaller population,' said Rick Jones, chairman of the Republican majority caucus in the state Senate.
    Jones, who has indicated he does not favor a bankruptcy, said he would like to see an emergency manager installed to fix the city's problems. If that failed, there would be a case for finding a way to shrink the Detroit municipal area, he argued. 
    Detroit's population is now just over 700,000 - down 30 percent since 1990 - but the city still has to provide services to an area encompassing more land than San Francisco, Boston and the borough of Manhattan.
    While Democratic Mayor Dave Bing and the Detroit City Council have moved to reduce spending and initiate some reforms to stave off a takeover, including layoffs and wage and benefit cuts, the progress may not be enough for Michigan officials and lawmakers.
    Spotlight: President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the Daimler Detroit Diesel engine plant in December
    Spotlight: President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the Daimler Detroit Diesel engine plant in December
    In the booming post-Second World War era, Detroit was America's fifth-largest city.
    Today, it ranks 18th. In addition to a sharp population decline, it suffers from high unemployment related to a loss of businesses, a flood of home foreclosures and a cut in state funding.
    That has led to shriveling revenue, leaving the city unable to afford a workforce of more than 10,000 and the surging health and pension costs that go with them and with its retirees.
    Issues: Mayor Dave Bing talks about the city's crime problem during a press conference at the Coleman Young building in Detroit
    Issues: Mayor Dave Bing talks about the city's crime problem during a press conference at the Coleman Young building in Detroit
    As a result, credit ratings on Detroit's approximately $8.2 billion of outstanding debt have sunk deeper into junk territory.
    The city's labor costs, including health care and pensions, are shrinking in absolute terms but rising as a share of the budget.
    They are slated to drop to $968 million, or nearly 49.5 percent of the operating budget, in the fiscal year ending June 30 versus $1.14 billion, or 45.5 percent, a year earlier. A bankruptcy would be messy.
    The interests of creditors would likely collide with those of labor unions wanting to protect workers' benefits, said Eric Scorsone, a Michigan State University economist who has written papers on municipal bankruptcy and on the state's emergency manager laws.
    'It is going to require the players - the City Council, the mayor, the state - to be on the same page. If you go into bankruptcy with a lot of conflict and dissent, it's going to cost more,' said Scorsone.
    It could also be racially explosive. Detroit has the largest percentage of black people of any U.S. city, with 83 percent of the population identifying themselves as African American, black or Negro, according to the 2010 U.S. census.
    Most of Michigan's state government, including the governor's office, is run by white Republicans.
    Detroit Council Member JoAnn Watson, who along with two other members of the city's all-black City Council has been resisting reform measures, said she is still hopeful of a federal bailout or an injection of state money that she claims the city is owed.
    Changing times: In the booming post-Second World War era, Detroit was America's fifth-largest city
    Changing times: In the booming post-Second World War era, Detroit was America's fifth-largest city
    Heyday: Despite previous glory ears the city now suffers from high unemployment related to a loss of businesses, a flood of home foreclosures and a cut in state funding
    Heyday: Despite previous glory ears the city now suffers from high unemployment related to a loss of businesses, a flood of home foreclosures and a cut in state funding
    Mayor Bing would not comment for this story.
    The automakers have little to say publicly about the crisis. Most of their operations in Michigan are now outside Detroit, and getting any top executive to even discuss the possibility of a city bankruptcy was almost impossible at the auto show.
    'I don't want to get into the politics,' said GM CEO Dan Akerson, while Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said: 'I don't see what the consequences would be for us.'
    One of the city's biggest challenges is its complex set of labor agreements with a whopping 48 bargaining units that represent most of the city's workforce.
    Trip through time: The Ford factory at Detroit Dearborn in Michigan
    Trip through time: The Ford factory at Detroit Dearborn in Michigan
    Thriving business: A gathering of workers in the yard of the Ford factories between the two wars
    Thriving business: A gathering of workers in the yard of the Ford factories between the two wars
    Control: Station of the electric commands regulating the temperature of ovens at the Ford car factory in Detroit
    Control: Station of the electric commands regulating the temperature of ovens at the Ford car factory in Detroit
    Max Newman, a bankruptcy attorney at Michigan-based Butzel Long, said a Chapter 9 bankruptcy could help the city throw out its collective bargaining agreements with unions.
    Costs would have to be tackled since Detroit cannot just jack up taxes to reduce the cumulative budget deficit, which grew to $326.6 million in fiscal 2012 from $196.6 million in fiscal 2011.
    The state would likely resist tax increases, and they might only make matters worse anyway.
    'If taxes go up any further it would exacerbate the flight out of the city,' Newman said.
    But for some of those who have seen Detroit struggle for years, bankruptcy is starting to look like the least awful option - even though it will be painful.
    'I think...off and on, that it wouldn't be a bad idea,' said former Ford chief financial officer Allan Gilmour, now the president of Detroit's Wayne State University. 'Let's clean this out once and for all.'



















































    A bankrupt city in decay: Detroit declares fiscal emergency as it faces being largest city in U.S. placed under state control

    Michigan's governor says that unless Detroit's fortunes suddenly and miraculously improve, he will appoint an emergency manager to take control of the troubled city that was once one of the nation's most prosperous manufacturing centers.
    In 1950 Detroit had 1.8 million people, a number which was down to 713,000 people by 2010. Parts of the bankrupt city now lie abandoned and desolate, a target for vandals and asset-strippers who remove copper roofs and valuable materials from buildings that once employed thousands.
    If the governor follows through with his plan, Detroit would become the largest city in the United States to have its finances placed under state control.
    ‘In many respects, I describe today as both a sad day ... saying there's a financial emergency in Detroit, but also a day of optimism and promise because it's time to start moving forward and solving these problems,’ Rick Snyder told The Associated Press ahead of a community forum at Wayne State University.
    Desolate: The abandoned General Motors Fisher Body plant #21, in Detroit, Michigan. On Friday Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency for the City of Detroit
    Desolate: The abandoned General Motors Fisher Body plant #21, in Detroit, Michigan. On Friday Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency for the City of Detroit
    Broken: A building on Grand River Avenue advertises home for sale for $1,500
    Broken: A building on Grand River Avenue advertises home for sale for $1,500
    Abandoned: A pedestrian passes by the abandoned Abundant Life Christian Church on Grand River Avenue. In 1950 Detroit had 1.8 million people, a number which was down to 713,000 people by 2010
    Abandoned: A pedestrian passes by the abandoned Abundant Life Christian Church on Grand River Avenue. In 1950 Detroit had 1.8 million people, a number which was down to 713,000 people by 2010
    Stripped: Abandoned buildings have had all valuable materials removed, like these on Belleterre
    Stripped: Abandoned buildings have had all valuable materials removed, like these on Belleterre
    Mayor Dave Bing, who has long opposed the appointment of a manager, said Friday that he would look at the impact of Snyder's decision and other options to determine what to do next.
    He has a 10-day appeal period in which to present a better turnaround plan or point out flaws in a report by a review team that spent two months delving into the city's books. ‘If, in fact, the appointment of an emergency financial manager both stabilizes the city fiscally and supports our restructuring initiatives, which improve the quality of life for our citizens, then I think there is a way for us to work together,’ Bing said in an emailed statement.
    Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account.
    Vacant: A boarded-up house stands empty in the once-thriving Brush Park neighborhood with the downtown Detroit skyline behind it
    Vacant: A boarded-up house stands empty in the once-thriving Brush Park neighborhood with the downtown Detroit skyline behind it
    Lost: The abandoned General Motors Fisher Body plant. GM is still based in Detroit
    Lost: The abandoned General Motors Fisher Body plant. GM is still based in Detroit
    Collapse: A rundown building on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, Michigan
    Collapse: A rundown building on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, Michigan
    Ransacked: An empty apartment building that has been stripped of copper roof and other materials sits next to Northwestern High School
    Ransacked: An empty apartment building that has been stripped of copper roof and other materials sits next to Northwestern High School
    The city has also instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers.
    Those troubles, along with underfunded city services such as police and fire departments and the absence of legitimate turnaround plans from Bing and the City Council, forced his hand, Snyder said.
    ‘Citizens are not getting the services they deserve and need, public safety, lighting, transportation - all those areas need help, and it's time to call all hands on deck and say let's all work together.’
    Snyder said he has a top candidate picked out for the emergency manager job, but he would not elaborate except to say the person had ‘strong financial’ and ‘strong legal knowledge.’
    Casualty: The abandoned Packard Automotive Plant which one produced luxury cars
    Casualty: The abandoned Packard Automotive Plant which one produced luxury cars
    Vandalised: The interior and exterior of the abandoned Abundant Life Christian Church are covered in graffiti
    Vandalised: The interior and exterior of the abandoned Abundant Life Christian Church are covered in graffiti
    State of emergency: Michigan's governor said he is preparing to appoint an emergency manager to take control of Detroit, which was once one of the nation's most prosperous manufacturing centers
    State of emergency: Michigan's governor said he is preparing to appoint an emergency manager to take control of Detroit, which was once one of the nation's most prosperous manufacturing centers
    Big despair: If the governor follows through with his plan, Detroit would become the largest city in the United States to have its finances placed under state control
    Big despair: If the governor follows through with his plan, Detroit would become the largest city in the United States to have its finances placed under state control
    Emergency managers have the power under state law to develop financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise and approve budgets to help control spending, sell off some city assets and suspend the salaries of elected officials.
    ‘The role here is to be that supportive partner and to work on projects where we could really make a difference,’ Snyder said, adding there is no ‘big bailout coming’ from the state.
    Detroit would be the largest city in the United States to come under state oversight, according to James Hohman, assistant director of Fiscal Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank based in Midland, Mich.
    In Michigan, Detroit would be the sixth city placed under state oversight. Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse, Allen Park and Benton Harbor already have managers, as do public school districts in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights.
    In many respects, I describe today as both a sad day ... saying there's a financial emergency in Detroit, but also a day of optimism and promise because it's time to start moving forward and solving these problems,' said Governor Rick Snyder
    In many respects, I describe today as both a sad day ... saying there's a financial emergency in Detroit, but also a day of optimism and promise because it's time to start moving forward and solving these problems,' said Governor Rick Snyder
    Opposed: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who has long opposed the appointment of a manager, said Friday that he would look at the impact of Snyder's decision and other options to determine what to do next
    Opposed: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who has long opposed the appointment of a manager, said Friday that he would look at the impact of Snyder's decision and other options to determine what to do next
    Ghost city: Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt
    Ghost city: Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt
    A review team first looked into Detroit's books in December 2011 but stopped short of declaring a financial emergency.
    A second team began to pore over the city's finances again this past December and gave Snyder a report last month that said the city's accumulated deficit as of June 30, 2012, would have topped $900 million if leaders in previous years had not issued bonds.
    The review team also said that because of Detroit's cash deficit, the city would have had to either increase revenues or decrease expenditures - or both - by about $15 million per month for three months starting in January to ‘remain financially viable.’
    A brochure produced by the state and distributed Friday said that an emergency manager could ‘more quickly and efficiently reform the finances in the city and stop the cycle of overspending and one-time fixes. Solving the structural problems will create a strong financial foundation that will allow Detroit to survive.’
    Snyder's declaration is the latest in a string of embarrassing setbacks to befall Detroit in recent years.
    Days off: The city has also instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers
    Days off: The city has also instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers
    Previous look: A review team first looked into Detroit's books in December 2011 but stopped short of declaring a financial emergency
    Previous look: A review team first looked into Detroit's books in December 2011 but stopped short of declaring a financial emergency
    Explicit text messages made public in 2008 revealed the tawdry affairs and other shenanigans by the city's then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, leading to criminal charges and eventually prison time for him.
    The 2010 census revealed that Detroit - which at one time was the symbol of American progress and held great political power thanks to the auto industry - had lost a quarter-million people over the previous decade.
    An undermanned and underpaid police force sometimes appears overwhelmed by the city's high violent crime rate, and the number of murders is on the rise.
    Snyder said he expects an emergency manager to get to work immediately once appointed.
    ‘It took 50 or 60 years to get in this situation, so it doesn't turnaround overnight,’ Snyder told the AP. ‘I would hope there are more low-hanging-fruit things that can be done fairly quickly to start showing there's a difference going on.’
    Population decline: The 2010 census revealed that Detroit had lost a quarter-million people over the previous decade
    Population decline: The 2010 census revealed that Detroit had lost a quarter-million people over the previous decade

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