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May 08, 2010


Diane Reynolds

Hi John,

I've liked your three blogs on the FT and current economics. You write very clearly and simply, and your blogs are a good length. You also manage to deal calmly with an issue that could lead to a great deal of anger while at the same time you make your point that Wall Street is not acting as the Bible would hope. I also liked the blog on the Depression ... I haven't gone back further, but I think you have more blogs comparing the Depression to today, a topic of interest to me. I will see if my library has a copy of everyday life 1920-40, and would recommend the 1937 sociological study Middleton in Transition, which offers good insights into the Depression.

All the best,



Hi, Diane, Thanks for your comments on my blog. I recall reading the Middletown in Transition study a few years ago but would like to return to it. I recall that it made the point, which seemed contrarian to me, that churchgoing declined in Muncie, IN, in the Great Depression, in part because people felt embarrassed that they couldn't contribute when the collection plate comes around. I wonder if that's the case in churchgoing now.

I've gotten the "Everyday Life" book out of the library a couple times -- I keep thinking this recession will be behind us (wishful thinking!). I should probably just buy it.

Do you also watch Depression-related movies? One forgotten gem that I love is "American Madness" from 1932. It's one of Frank Capra's first films, and, in addition to pulling off some neat technique (like rapid shots depicting how a rumor leads to a run on the bank), I think it just works better for me than some of his later films on similar themes. His "It Happened One Night," which soon followed, is one of my all-time favorites.


Hi, Earlene, I hope your loan worked out all right. But for millions of people who have taken out loans in the past decade, it hasn't. I hope that our culture has learned a lesson, but fear that it -- and especially the business world -- has not. I have posted elsewhere on Quakers' take on debt and think that the spiritual accounting early Friends did is something we could learn from today.

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