A 21st Century Depression - The Intrepid

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A 21st Century Depression

Where's my Fucking Bailout

With the world’s banking system on the brink of collapse, we started to wonder: what would a twenty-first century depression look like? Nothing like the last one, that’s for sure—dust bowls and the Joads are so 1930. We thought this over and if the economy goes belly-up, we think that these are some of the most likely scenarios.

Eating Habits
Gross Cheeseburger

  • Cheaper Calories: More fast food and less healthy or environmentally conscious food (goodbye organic fruits and vegetables).
  • Obesity: Economically depressed individuals will start to turn to comfort foods and stop renewing those expensive gym passes.
  • Cooking at Home: People will start to cook more meals at home (cookbooks and cooking videos are going to be big).
  • Urban Farming: Vegetable gardens will be a lot more common. People might even start investing in chicken coops.
  • Cheap Booze: Fancy wine sales will fall, as boxed wine sales skyrocket.
Housing
Housing Foreclosure
  • Re-Urbanization: Re-urbanization is already on its way, a depression would just speed it up. Cars are expensive, and commuting is cheap if you live where you work.
  • Suburbanized Ghettos: As the upper and middle classes move back to the cities—gentrifying their cores—they’ll push the lower classes out to the suburbs where impoverished ghettos will start to spring up.
  • Renting Over Owning: If housing prices continue to plummet, it will make more sense to rent.
  • Living with the ‘Rents’: To save money, more kids are going to stay in their parent’s house after they finish school.
Transportation
Crowded Subway
  • Easy Transit Access is King: The most desired areas to live will be those that are well-serviced by metro transit systems.
  • Crowded Subways and Empty Laneways: Gas is cheaper now, but it’s still not that cheap. Lots of people are going to stop driving and transit systems are going to see a lot more use.
Education
Hart House Entrance
  • Worthless Degrees: That master’s degree in history is worth even less now. Get some real skills, ya bum!
  • (Expensive) Worthless Degrees: With tuitions still going up, university will be too expensive for many North American families. Subsequently, as admissions drop, so will standards.
  • No More Drunken Debauchery: University towns will still be drunken hell holes, but there won’t be as many students to fill them. Cities like Boston are going to suffer.
  • We Don’t Need Any Wrapping Paper: Public schools, particularly those that heavily rely on fundraising, are going to be strapped for cash.
Clothing
Goodwill Clothing
  • Hand-Me-Downs: If there’s a depression, used clothing stores are going to be big.
  • Goodbye Topless Mannequins: In bad economic times, people trade down—so Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and the rest of the high-end clothing stores would soon be out of business.
Technology
Smashed Laptop
  • Rotten Apples: Macs are expensive; if times get tough, people are going to trade down, and buy cheap PCs.
  • The Small Neighbourhood Computer Shop: Instead of buying a new computer, a lot of people would probably try to fix their old one or buy used. This is something the big box stores aren’t equipped to do, and might lead to a proliferation of small neighbourhood computer stores.
  • Prepaid Mania: Cell phones are expensive. People trying to save money will most likely downgrade to prepaid phones.
Entertainment
Television Family
  • Culture is Dead: Those grants for the arts are going to go the way of the avant-garde aluminum sculpture of the dodo bird.
  • Who’s My Baby’s Daddy: The unemployed are going to need entertainment to forget their woes, and there's no cheaper form of entertainment than television. Maury’s ratings are going to go through the roof.
  • Empty Theater Seats: Unless movies (and movie popcorn) come down in price, people are going to stick with their televisions.
  • Surfing to the Max: Out of a job? Need twelve hours to kill everyday? May we present the Mecca of free entertainment: the internet.
Obviously, this list is incomplete and since we haven’t had a 21st century depression yet (fingers crossed) we really don’t know what one might look like.

Source: Depression 2009, What Would It Look Like, by Drake Bennett

Where is my "fucking bailout" by Politics for Misfits. Cheeseburger by Food in Mouth. Blue House by Chad Davis. Crowded Subway by SeraphimC. Hart House Entrance by Gogoninja. Goodwill Clothing by Viewerblur. Smashed Laptop by analog chainsaw. Television Family by Franca Alejandra.

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