November 30, 2008

Are we going back to the past?

I was reading through some of the events that happened in the US during the period of great depression. Somehow given the apparent resemblance of what we are witnessing over the past year, the tendency to compare with the past is very compelling. As analysts, we like to look into the past as often as possible. We see a goldmine of information which we tend to under-utilize during the best and the worst of times. It is only during the phase of transition that this is used extensively as we are slowly but decisively testing our hypothesis on grounds that was otherwise never ever thought of.

There are two fold uses of looking into the past. 1) Are we heading for the same actions which probably will give the same set of results or different ones 2) Are we venturing into new areas and if yes, what does that mean.

I came across this interesting piece of what was happening in US during the period of great depression.

In 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, Minnesota passed the Mortgage Moratorium Law. The law was modeled on President Franklin D. Roosevelt's NewDeal program for national economic relief and attempted to provide protectionto farmers and other property owners against mortgage foreclosure "during the continuance of the emergency and in no event beyond 1 May 1935." It authorized the Minnesota state courts to consider exempting troubled mortgagors fromforeclosure if the mortgagors requested such judicial consideration.

This law was passed till 1942...

Someone did an analysis stating that the debt to GDP in the US currently is over 3.5x times this time compared to over 2.5x times during the depression.

Are we going to see this happening again.

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