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Present day parallels with The Long Depression

"Mortgages were easier to obtain than before, and a building boom commenced. Land values seemed to climb and climb; borrowers ravenously assumed more and more credit, using unbuilt or half-built houses as collateral. The most marvelous spots for sightseers in [Vienna, Paris and Berlin] today are the magisterial buildings erected in the so-called founder period."

"International competitor who drastically undersold them (...) produce from farmers in the American Midwest."

"Europeans faced what they came to call the American Commercial Invasion. A new industrial superpower had arrived, one whose low costs threatened European trade and a European way of life."

"As continental banks tumbled, British banks held back their capital, unsure of which institutions were most involved in the mortgage crisis. The cost to borrow money from another bank — the interbank lending rate — reached impossibly high rates."

"Railroad companies tumbled first. They had crafted complex financial instruments that promised a fixed return, though few understood the underlying object that was guaranteed to investors in case of default. (Answer: nothing)."

"Carnegie and Rockefeller bought out their competitors at fire-sale prices. The Gilded Age in the United States, as far as industrial concentration was concerned, had begun."

"The terms "tramp" and "bum," both indirect references to former soldiers, became commonplace American terms. Relief rolls exploded in major cities"

"Many political analysts blamed the crisis on a combination of foreign banks and Jews. (...) [In Russia and Ukraine heartland] communities large and small had found a scapegoat: aliens in their own midst."

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May 2009

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