Friday, September 4, 2015

Bread Lines



We wrap up Financial Collapse Week with this picture of Americans standing in bread lines. One of the inevitable outcomes of a financial collapse is a loss of purchasing power, and many are left standing in lines and hoping for the generosity of strangers to survive.

6 comments:

  1. The irony of the white family in that fancy car and the black families lined up for "excess commodities" should be obvious to anybody.

    The citrus growers in California would toss their unsold crops into the Pacific, and men and boys would swim out to get them, until the growers started soaking the fruit in kerosene to make it inedible. That was when FDR set up the Excess Commodities program, which purchased unsold food from growers and handed it out to the unemployed. The beginning of today's food stamp program.

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    1. I had not heard of that before. Fascinating. I guess we should be glad Boaz didn't think of kerosene when Ruth was in his fields!

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  2. While definitely taken during the Depression, it is in fact taken in Louisville Ky as coverage to the Ohio River flood of 1937.
    That being said, even the dog was white.
    http://time.com/3879426/the-american-way-photos-from-the-great-ohio-river-flood-of-1937/

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    1. Most white people were poor then too, at least my parents and their parents were. Nothing was thrown away..."use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" was the motto. My grandmother made clothing from cloth feed sacks.

      Except in the cities, most people did not have indoor plumbing and maybe had electricity for one light bulb in the kitchen. My dad studied to the light of an oil lamp when he was in grade school in the 1930's.

      Patches on clothing was common. A person might have one decent suit of clothing for Sunday church, otherwise wore hand-me-downs patched many times over.

      Virtually everyone raised a garden and chickens and pigs, rarely a beef which was usually sold. That was the only way to keep from going hungry in the winter. I could go on, it frustrates me how people, even those living on other people's money, gripe and moan today and have no idea what a hard life really is

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  3. Even in the 1960s, I had two sets of aunts and uncles who lived w/o indoor plumbing or electricity. That's not the point of this picture, however. It's the contrast between the lives of the poor black people standing in line for something to eat because they couldn't get jobs to earn their food, and the ridiculous ad for "The American Way" of consumption. That goes beyond irony. Yes, the Depression was hard on everybody except rich folks. But that ad wasn't aimed at truly rich folks, who would have had a chauffeur. It was aimed at the middle class white folks who thought that "the American Way" meant consumption. Not that different from now.

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