May 19, 2011

Advice From Depression Survivors


"It made our hearts ache to see how bad off other kids were. Even if we only got sweets or fruit once a month, it made us think how lucky we were.” - Robert, Depression survivor

People like Robert that have experienced economic depression have provided researchers with first-hand recollections of what living with less, sometimes a lot less, was like. Sharing their stories can help us avoid economic hardship, and live more self-sufficiently.


Those who lived through the depression often gained a new outlook on life. Many survivors continued the same virtues after, so strong were the lessons learned. 

Generally, those that went through the extreme economic conditions tended thereafter to avoid the self indulgence and immediate gratification that comes from easy access to material things. 

Instead they reported focusing on what they considered more important - relationships with their families and community. 

Not surprisingly, their advice and survival strategies center on a long-standing tradition of frugality, simple living, and reasonable material expectations.

Advice From Depression Survivors 
  • Pay cash instead of adopting the credit mentality. “Don’t spend money you don’t already have in your pocket.”
  • Don't make the rich richer by giving them your money. “Don’t pay someone else to provide something that you can learn to do or to make yourself.”
  • Cultivate traditional values of thrift and frugality. “Only buy what you can’t live without.”
  • Avoid self-indulgence and self-gratification by immediate acquisition of possessions. “Give yourself a good, long waiting period before making purchases.”
  • Do not gamble with your money (stock market, real estate speculation, lotteries, get rich quick schemes, etc). “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how much you save!”
  • Work is the way to make money. "Don't be afraid of honest, hard work."
  • Ambition is over-rated. "It is enough to just enjoy and appreciate each day."

Many depression survivors realized that good can come from bad, and meaning can come from tragedy. We have a lot to learn from their experience.


7 comments:

  1. Hi! sorry if my english is bad, but i´m brazilian and don´t practice much. I just found your blog on google and i loved it. I´m trying to go one year without buying unecessary items strating from next june 1st and i´ve been reading lots of articles and blogs like your but yours is better than the others in my opinion. I´m not a minimalist or frugal person. My intent to go one year witthout shopping for anything is an attempt to reflect about the choices i make. Probably won´t do what you do but i´m interested in living in a healthier, simpler way. In Brazil we still lead simpler lives compared to us and europe. We cook our own beans from scratch every day, we drink juice made out of real fruit, we buy less, we rarely see products that are ok in the garbage and it´s realy common to walk. All of those things are starting to change because our country is getting richer but brazilian´s identity has a lot to do with being spontaneous and living life in a more improvised way. That´s just the way most people are. Onde serious problem here is that we treat our environment badly and companies and people are starting to worry about this just now. I know that the world often thins of Brazil as the country os soccer, beatiful women, carnaval and beaches but the great majority of our population lives in really big modern cities and do not have monkeys on their backyards (most of us don´t have yards!). You beeing an inteligent person must know all those things but i knoe that most people don´t.

    Big Kiss.
    Marina

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marina,

    Thank you for your very generous comment, and congratulations on your decision to not buy anything for a year. I am very curious about Brazil and how it is developing. The traditional simple life you describe sounds beautiful, and I am all about spontaneous living. I would think twice before trading that for whatever global capitalism has to offer.

    The environment is more important than anything else, and you are right to be worried. Again, congratulations on the June 1st start to your project - you will learn a lot, and be an inspiration for those around you. Let us know how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's neat that Marina found your blog. What she described is happening in China, India and many other places too. Very worrisome.

    By the way, the old depression photo is one of my favourite photographs. So haunting. I can absolutely picture myself in her shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Geneviève,

    It is exciting to have the NBA blog expand globally. We have to define development and progress differently, for all of us.

    I like the classic photo, too. It is scary to think of how everything we know can be taken away in a moment. Enjoy now. And now...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the thought of living simple, gives more time to think of......just think. I have been a minimalist for 18 yrs. Went through a rough patch. Grateful that I did, changed me for the better in ways that others would not understand. I appreciate the little things in life. I usually wait for things I "need" until I really do and then don't buy all the bells and whistles. I am a emergency nurse, deal with some very well off individuals where I work. I love when they ask me if I have a power cord for a smart phone. I say " Oh, I have a pay as you go...just for emergencies". Seriously why would anyone want to be on a phone every other minute? And then the large bill! Nah.....couldn't care a less, and the beauty of it, seriously don't care what others think. Love your site, keep up the good work.
    Belinda Miller

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes. I agree....with all you say. Now more global expansion of your blog is coming! Motto: Connect the effort for self-sustained economy with a local currency! Explanations here:

    I was sitting in front of a “food-sharing” place in Konstanz, Germany, today watching the streets full of cars and people hurrying to meet the demands of the day. It occurred to me, that most of the physical motion is motivated by the prospect of money that will pay for the necessities of life.
    Now a week ago I was in Wuppertal, a German city with great history of industry and the birth-place of Friedrich Engels (1820). There I took part in a rebuilding of an open air there which remembers the days of the Great Depression in Germany and the effort of progressive thinkers to overcome it and bring a lasting solution to it.

    The place, the open theatre and the seminar canter is dedicated since then to Silvio Gesell, a deep thinker and merchant, traveller, farmer. You can google him. He witnessed the financial crisis in Argentina in the 1920s before it hit America. He realized that it was not an economical but a financial crisis. It was conceived by the great bankers for more profit.
    So Silvio Gesell´s solution aimed at the centre of the problem. He realized that money must not be hoarded in the banks where it brings an easy fake profit without any real work.
    Money, according to Gesell, should serve the exchange of goods and services – that is ok. Like blood that circulates in our body, money should circulate. But if blood stops in one place, you get a disease and eventually a death in that organism will follow. The same rule of life should apply to money: Silvio Gesell suggested: money must grow old and must be used up - as any other goods does.
    Following the Crash of 1929 and the symptoms of the crises, Local Currency banknotes were printed then in several locations in Austria and in Germany. The banknotes were losing their value every month – several per cent every month…After a year or two the banknotes were worthless. You were forced to bring them into circulation. Banks were no more needed. No loans with interest were possible. Old money was burned and new was printed with limited value time.. In a city which followed this cure, all signs of depression disappeared. Local goods were rapidly exchanged, work was demanded, and the currency was independent from the state printed (private bank) money. Financial experts from over the world came – even from the US. They admired the model.
    It proved that economical crises are generated by the manipulations of currency by the big private banks – supposedly Central State Banks. Ok… after this success was obvious to everybody with a sound mind, the German State bank -Reichsbank greedily stopped this experiment. Why? Because it would make all profit oriented bankers obsolete. Probably World War II would not even happen – which would be a great financial loss for the bankers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Greetings from Germany - Part 2
    The place, the open theatre and the seminar canter is dedicated since then to Silvio Gesell, a deep thinker and merchant, traveller, farmer. You can google him. He witnessed the financial crisis in Argentina in the 1920s before it hit America. He realized that it was not an economical but a financial crisis. It was conceived by the great bankers for more profit.
    So Silvio Gesell´s solution aimed at the centre of the problem. He realized that money must not be hoarded in the banks where it brings an easy fake profit without any real work.
    Money, according to Gesell, should serve the exchange of goods and services – that is ok. Like blood that circulates in our body, money should circulate. But if blood stops in one place, you get a disease and eventually a death in that organism will follow. The same rule of life should apply to money: Silvio Gesell suggested: money must grow old and must be used up - as any other goods does.
    Following the Crash of 1929 and the symptoms of the crises, Local Currency banknotes were printed then in several locations in Austria and in Germany. The banknotes were losing their value every month – several per cent every month…After a year or two the banknotes were worthless. You were forced to bring them into circulation. Banks were no more needed. No loans with interest were possible. Old money was burned and new was printed with limited value time.. In a city which followed this cure, all signs of depression disappeared. Local goods were rapidly exchanged, work was demanded, and the currency was independent from the state printed (private bank) money. Financial experts from over the world came – even from the US. They admired the model.
    It proved that economical crises are generated by the manipulations of currency by the big private banks – supposedly Central State Banks. Ok… after this success was obvious to everybody with a sound mind, the German State bank -Reichsbank greedily stopped this experiment. Why? Because it would make all profit oriented bankers obsolete. Probably World War II would not even happen – which would be a great financial loss for the bankers.

    Ok – so it think, it would be ideal to combine your effort for self - sufficiency, producing your own food, clothes, furniture, repairing old stuff, sharing needed machines etc with the effort to create local currencies independent of the State Bank. Read about “Wörgl – Silvio Gesell” in the net. The 3rd principle according to Gesell was that private ownership of land is allowed only for family housing. All the rest of land is state-owned and is rented to the producers of larger amount of goods and services. They pay a monthly rent with the same “aging” money which is immediately pumped into social services – rents for old people and mothers, free health care, education etc.

    That all you need to have a solid and rational base for the flourishing of any economy. Also: Producing all the necessary goods for immediate daily use and consumption with your hands is psychologically an aesthetically a necessity to reinforce the feeling of authentic identity of man, I guess.
    In Wuppertal and other cities in Germany today, young people and reasonable older people also engage in projects such as “Urban Gardening” to grow food in the city gardens, they also practice food sharing. Organise co –operative work and education.
    Good Luck from Germany & Czech Republic
    I found your website while tipping “peasants – farming - feudalism” into google.

    Good Luck to all friends poof your website

    ReplyDelete

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