September 6, 2009

Favorites of the week Sept. 3-Sept. 6, 1930

No Journal was published Sunday, Sept. 7, 1930. Once again, a collection of my favorite items of the week. These aren't a representative selection but just the ones that made me smile or take notice.

Sept. 6:

[Note: Kind of sad #1.] Editorial: Lindbergh proved the northern Atlantic could be flown eastward, and Costes and Bellonte, landing in Dallas on Sept. 4, proved it could under certain conditions be done westward. “No commercial use can be made of that information” now, but this was true of many technologies when first invented such as the steam engine and telephone - as a result of their development “the idea, handed down from primitive times, that every stranger is an enemy, has to a large extent been broken down under the influence of quick transportation and communication.” In the near future, aviation too will be developed; success will be measured by progress “in standards of living, and in social relationships that foster peace and goodwill between nations.”

[Note: Kind of sad #2.] French Ministry of Public Works reports nearly all reconstruction of regions devastated by World War has been completed. Almost all trenches filled in; most of 8M or more acres of ravaged soil has been cleaned. “Nature has healed the scarred and desolate land of 1918 beyond the most hopeful expectations.”

[Note: Strangely familiar dept.] Bradstreet's review notes “unmistakable” business improvement from July and early Aug. dullness, back-to-school buying; Dun's review sees “acceleration of activity,” though commercial recovery still expected to be gradual.

[Note: Strangely unfamiliar dept.] Brazil suffering from political disturbances, falling currency, coffee crisis, and pessimism regarding ability to get through depression without damage to credit.

[Note: Strangely familiar dept.] Bank merger rumors recently revived; possible resumption of vigorous 1929 competition to become largest financial institution.

Sept. 5:

[Note: Politics was more fun then dept.] Editorial: A Senate committee has been investigating campaign expenses of Mrs. Ruth McCormick, a Senatorial candidate. Mrs. McCormick retaliated by herself investigating one of the Senators, hiring a detective agency for that purpose. The Senator described McCormick's investigation as “shoddy, scabby, unprincipled, unconscionable, contemptible”; this may indicate he has lost “the fine judicial poise that befits the toga.” Public sympathy is mostly with McCormick, thanks to the Senate's tactics in previous investigations, including treating witnesses arrogantly, taking private papers unconstitutionally, and making their contents public.

[Note: Good luck with that dept.] Editorial: Real estate owners are organizing to reduce local tax burden. Real estate taxes have always been major part of local taxes, but some states including New York and Massachusets have now adopted an income tax as well; curiously, the new tax, “though it has raised much money, has not materially reduced the tax on real property.” New York state is now organizing a bipartisan commission to study whether a sales tax can be applied to relieve the real estate tax.

New York's tiny housekeeping apartments of today are nothing new under the sun. In London, following the Great Fire of 1666, vast numbers of families were obliged to live in one room and two room apartments.”

Sept. 4:

[Note: Strangely familiar dept.] Chatham Phenix Natl. Bank says August business activity improved somewhat from July low, indicating July level was “extreme low of the depression, with the natural corollary that from now on the curve of activity will rise.” Finds some improvement in employment; sees likely rise in commodity prices.

[Note: Strangely unfamiliar dept.] National debt as of Aug. 31 was $16.188B, up $12.1M from July 31 but down $617.8M from 1929.

[Note: Strangely familiar dept.] Govt. spending over $19,000/day to fight forest fires in many of the 149 US national forests; danger increased by drought conditions.

[Note: Can't afford to die dept.] Surprisingly, National Casket Co. reports bad earnings due to depression; Pres. P. Heintz attributes decline to lower mortality during depressions and switch to lower-priced caskets.

Sept. 3:

[Note: And I thought we invented monkeying with the stats.] Prof. C. Persons quit job in Census Bureau because higher official decided to exclude from count of unemployed those laid off with “promise of reemployment at some indefinite future time”; Prof. Persons estimates there are 5M unemployed, contradicting census estimate of 2M-3M.

[Note: Strangely familiar dept.] Most economists agree business upturn close; peak in business was reached July 1929, so depression has lasted about 14 months. “Those who have faith and confidence in the country and its ability to come back will profit by their foresight. This has also been the case over the past half century.”

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to let you know how awesome you are.

    You know, in case you forgot.