The 100 year crash: Just nature's way of saying you were getting too rich!


I love the idea of a 100 year crash. It makes the market seem mysterious and inexorable, a force of nature that is completely uncontrollable.

Hearkening to the image of the 100 year flood or the 17 year locust, the 100 year crash seems to make sense. After all, seasons go in cycles, oceans rise and recede, and it seems natural to assume that our economy's cycles of expansion and recession would hit the occasional neap tide, resulting in massive growth or massive reduction. Best of all, the 100 year crash gives us the idea that financial crises are nobody's fault: they are part of an eternal process, like the movement of Apollo's chariot across the heavens or the seasonal chill caused by Persephone's return to Hades.

It isn't all that hard to figure out how the idea of the 100 year crash came about. Right now, we are a few weeks away from the 101st anniversary of the 1907 stock market crash; a couple of weeks after that, we will have the 79th anniversary of Black Sunday, the crash that signaled the start of the Great Depression.