Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today, History IS Better

I can still remember the times last century when the Dow was creeping toward 7000, flirting coyly but never coming close to satisfying our economic hopes of a 10,000 day. So when I see a "plummet" or "collapse" like we've been seeing recently, I employ a certain disposition of perspective.
I was doing pretty well in those days, and if someone requested a disagreeable task accomplished quickly, the joke was, "Sure, I'll get back to you on that. When the Dow reaches 10,000!"
Many hahas around the copy machine those days.
So in reading recent publications filled with people whose ancestors leapt from buildings in the past during another "market correction," I wondered if anyone could provide further perspective.
In 1825, the industries around here were agriculture and the fisheries. We weren't, however sending our scallops and cod to eager multinational ports. We were killing whales, trying them out, producing oil and candles, and addicting the entire world. The support industries thrived, and important skillsets, like shipbuilding, banking, and employing immigrants for slave wages also flourished. Success was insured for the long haul, certainly well into the next century. Well, yes, but not for the reasons assumed.
So, there's your perspective.
And I thank sportsfisherman and pipe smoker Mike Dwyer for bringing a bit of that perspective to us today, when some people might need it most. The Standard-Times reports : "This is the economic history of New Bedford.. Maybe there is something we can learn from this about the banking crisis we're in today."
And this is one of my favorite museum gigs:

Earlier bound volumes are easier to handle, their high-quality paper still white after a century and a half, the ink still bold on the page.Sez Steve Urbon Vacuuming ledgers. Another great name for a band. I'm givin' 'em away.

And if you want to see more of Peter Perreira's photos, many even more evocative than this, go to NBAM and see Home Grown.

1 comment:

Karie said...

Glad I read this post AFTER I read today's (Thursday) sickening report. THIS one restores my faith.

Museums ROCK!
Glad for that, today. Feeling good about my career.

(what WAS the United Way thinking???!!! I'll bit my tongue.)


And thanks for the NBAM plug, too.