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From the Roaring 1920s to the Roaring 2020s, Cycles of Boom and Bust

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Never before have such fortunes been made overnight by so many people,’ said US journalist and statesman Edwin LeFevre in his narrative of the ‘Roaring 1920s.’

It was the ‘get-rich-quick’ era.

Many were still suffering from the previous depression in 1920. But regardless, the notion was that anyone could become a millionaire overnight from speculation on Wall Street.

Only the hardiest spoilsports rose to protest that the wild and unchecked speculative fever might be bad for the country…‘The money lay in stacks in Wall Street, waiting to be picked up. You had to be an awful deadhead not to go get some.’ (Historian Paul Sann, The Lawless Decade )

The Roaring Twenties led us to the peak of the post-war real estate cycle in 1929.

In January of 1929… there was no one to look over the edge of the cliff and note how far it was down to the bottom of the canyon.’ (Stewart Holbrook, The Age of the Moguls)

The ‘bottom of the canyon’ was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialised world.

It lasted from 1929–39.

By 1933, 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.

The mainstream labelled the Roaring Twenties as merely a stock market bubble. (Similar to the 1973 land price bubble that was written out of history in favour of the story of the OPEC crisis.)

Few understand, however, that the Roaring Twenties had much more in common with the 1880s *worldwide* land boom that caused utter devastation into the 1890s depression.

Land is where the money on Wall Street was ultimately settling.

In the US, it was termed ‘The Florida Land Boom’ — however, it extended across much of the nation.

Between 1921 and 1929, lending on real estate in the US increased by 179%, and urban prices more than doubled.

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