Democracy’s Economic Roller Coaster

In a Brief History of Economic Downturns, Business Intelligence says, “At the amusement park that is the American economy, capitalism is a lot like that roller coaster, a never-ending ride with lots of twists, turns, ups, and downs – or booms and busts…”

Nine major economic crashes were listed.

There was the Panic of 1819, which lasted five years.

The Panic of 1826 went for six years.

In 1857, a single major company went out of business and dragged the entire US economy down.

In 1873, Jay Cooke & Company, the largest US bank at the time failed triggering a recession that lasted six years.

The next serious crash was the panic of 1907, causing massive job losses and many business failures.

In 1918, hyperinflation in Europe and the end of US wartime production caused a brief but severe downturn in the American economy.

The Great Depression imploded in 1929 with the collapse of the stock market and the American banking system and wouldn’t end until the beginning of World War II.

In 1973, the price of gas at the pump soared leading to long lines to fill gas tanks.

Then the Dot–Com Bubble burst in combination with 9/11/2001.

When the sub-prime mortgage bubble exploded in the U.S. in 2008, about 80,000 private owned businesses in China went out of business and 15 to 20 million workers lost jobs – much bigger numbers than the U.S. suffered.

However, within a few weeks, those who had lost their jobs in China were back at work or had returned to rural China to the collective farm.

Why should China cave in to pressure from America and Europe and turn its economy into another Wild West show?

Also see The Reasons Why China is Studying Singapore


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to Democracy’s Economic Roller Coaster

  1. Jeremie Brecheisen says:

    Hey Lloyd,

    I kind of fell behind on your blog, but I have been catching up and truly appreciate your opinions and the dialogue you create in my circles.

    In response to your question at the end of this post, I guess if you look at the USA in the way as displayed it doesn’t look so appetizing at all. If all we focus on are the costs, then why would anyone do something that has a chance of significant benefits. Risk and reward are cetainly proportional.

    I think that’s a major reason why so many people simplify the Chinese people, their opinions, their politics, and many of the other related issues of China. Our media sells the costs of China because it plays into feel good stereotypes. Our politicians sell the risks of China because it will get them votes and it takes the focus off of the failures in their own party’s actions. Of course there are risks.

    Another issue I think your blog highlights quite well is the fact that in America there is a large section of people who wash out the risks of democracy and captialism. They do this in a myriad of ways, but specifically by over-emphasizing the benefits, or by over-emphasizing another system’s risks.

    The more effort that is given to find a balanced view of the risks and rewards, the more calculated our decisions might be. That’s something to hope for in this emotionally driven world.

    • Jeremie,

      Thank you for your thoughtful analysis. You stated the situation in fewer words than I would and did a great job. One problem I have is writing too much. Soon (before the end of the year), I plan to slow up and post only once a day instead of three times a day as I have been doing since January 28, 2010.


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