Surviving an economic depression.
As a survivor from the last turmoil between 1940- 1945, I wonder what one could do in case of another downturn. How would people react when there is an economic collapse whereby the norms of a working society go askew?
The banks have gone broke. The rush to withdraw all savings turned into a stampede. The next day there were chains and padlocks on all the banks doors. There was a curt little notice that the bank would be closed till further notice. People queued up and small groups formed outside staring at the bank’s doors as if by magic they would somehow open up again. It was a strange and discomforting diversion from the norm.
The housing investment market started to wobble a few years earlier. Houses took a long time to sell and soon they reverted to dwellings that people lived in. With the banks closed, mortgage payments became superfluous. Roofs over one’s head became again what houses were originally, it kept the rain out. Keeping the rain out became what the homeless now needed more than ever. The government or what was left of it tried to arrange public buildings for sheltering the homeless.
The huge Ernest & Young multi storey building now housed seventeen thousand homeless spread out over all the floors. People did not mind climbing the emergency fire-escape stairs. The generators just supplied emergency power for some lights but excluded the lifts. The toilets still flushed but for how much longer? Rumours were going around that the Myer’s store were distributing food brought in by the Salvation Army and so far no reports of looting were heard about.
Neighbours, who previously kept themselves apart and much to themselves, very private, now introduced themselves and offered help. People started to be drawn together with sharing common needs. Fear and instinct for survival made for instant communication. “Have you got enough food” was a common question and concern for sharing became necessary. “One can get ten kilo bags of flour from the Town-Hall” someone told the neighbourhood. Another one offered to pick up tins of powdered milk from somewhere else. It became a scramble to just see the next few days out. The closure of banks meant that money was scarce and bartering became the norm.
During cold weather fires were soon lit in public areas. People were seen huddling together talking and sharing the latest news. Some suburbs had no electricity and generators were hard pushed to find fuel for. The little fuel that was available was being kept for emergency driving only. Hospitals were still going on with caring for the sick and the government was issuing warnings that people ought to stay away from rioting youth and street fighting which had broken out in front of the Center-Link offices which had closed down as well. The police was kept busy.
Of course, the above is just one scenario that could happen. With the sort of survival methods that became necessary during the last war in Europe I can’t remember too much detail. I know more from what my parents told me than from memories. I do remember hunger though. That is something that doesn’t easily go away.
So, in short; food is the most essential part for survival. Shortage of food is still the norm amongst hundreds of millions of people around many parts of the world to-day. They experience economic depression as something that seems to last forever during their entire lives. How would we cope?