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As a child, I learned about the Great Depression. The way the story was presented to me, I came to believe that everything was great until one day in A.D. 1929 when there was a stock market crash. Result? The whole nation was instantly plunged into the “Great Depression”. I concluded that the Great Depression occurred as suddenly as flipping a light switch. One day everything was bright; the next day everything was gloomy.
As an “adult” (some would still dispute that characterization), I was much surprised to read that Americans didn’t even generally agree that they were in a Depression until about A.D. 1933.
In retrospect, we agree that the Great Depression started in A.D. 1929. But at the time, people didn’t generally perceive and believe that they were in a Depression until four years later.
Thus, it can take years for the vast majority of people to accurately assess and understand their current economic condition. It’s entirely possible for the economy to be in a state of depression or recovery for several years before the general public recognizes the truth of their circumstances and acts accordingly.
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