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Three Ways Through a Greater Depression

If you follow the news – specifically the financial news – you’ve probably started hearing the D word thrown around casually. Perhaps a little too casually. The notion seems more than a little crazy at first glance. The original Great Depression is ancient history by now, and our understanding of economics and the ability to model and shape the economy is much, much better than it was in 1929. Right?

Well, yes. But the virtual shutdown of 40% of the entire economy for over a month is not something that was ever considered by anyone’s models, until now. COVID-19 is what Nassim Nicholas Taleb would call a “Black Swan” Event – an event so unlikely that current models don’t account for the possibility of its occurrence. So when it does, it does maximum damage to societies and economies.

The numbers are starting to come in, and they don’t look great. The Federal Reserve itself, after adding shutdowns into their modeling, is projecting a 32% unemployment rate, which is much worse than the peak of the Great Depression. [source

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.”

― Harry S. Truman

We here at are optimistic about a rapid and strong recovery, but in the event that we find ourselves in Great Depression Part Deux, we’ve done some gedankenexperiments to bring you some ideas for getting through it.

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