This is a topic of great interest to me, not only because I continue to be unemployed, but on a much larger scale what kind of impact will be seen from the events of the last 5 years. I am talking about what the effects will be on my generation, the generation thats just graduating college, and also the effects on kids growing up today. This kind of research probably wont be known for decades or even generations. We know about the lasting effects of the Great Depression; we know how it changed peoples way of spending money. How they were more risk adverse. Some of those lessons were taught to me by my Father and Grandmother. My Grandparents were actually well off and pretty much unhurt by the Depression (dont think Vanderbilt mansions), but there was a lesson learned there about how you spend money, which was taught to my Father and then passed on to my brother and me. To this day I follow those examples; I dont buy things I dont need, money is never to be wasted. No matter how much you have or how much you can afford thats the way I live my life. All lessons from the Great Depression.
Todays events I believe will be much more impactful and have much greater consequences than those of the 1930’s. Today women work so they are feeling the same effects as men; the world is a lot more interconnected then it was back then so everyone now is able to see suffering that goes on. Not just the ones living through it.
Being unemployed is a horrible position to be in; many people equate their identities and self worth to their jobs, so when they lose their job they can take a big hit to their psychological well being. Add to that that this is one of the worst job markets in the history of the United States, people can feel a lack of hope. Losing hope is a serious issue, this can lead to depression and other disorders. Money plays a large portion with the unemployed, there is a constant worry of how you will support yourself, your kids, parents whomever you need to help. This of course can lead to anxiety another psychological disorder. Studies have shown that the unemployed are more likely to abuse substances whether they be alcohol or drugs. I have heard some estimates that there are 300 unemployed people for every open position. Those numbers are staggering. You can start to understand why people just cant take the rejection anymore. The CDC has done extensive studies showing that suicide rates are directly correlated to the economic cycles and employment. This is devastating news! I have also read many studies indicating unemployed men and women are more likely to die younger, earn lower wages and more susceptible to diseases such as cancer than their working counter parts.
What is interesting to me is what the impact of all of this is 50 or 75 years from now. Kids seeing their parents out of work, looking for jobs, getting constant rejection. People, such as myself, over 45 who arent being hired because of age (I cant prove this, but I know this); recent college grads not being able to find work. Current High School students wondering why bother to study or even go to college if there are no jobs? Not to mention the tremendous anxiety felt by those that are working that they could be the next one on the chopping block.
What saved us from the last Depression was World War 2; the tremendous government spending, the immediate need for women to work to help out the war effort. After the war there was a tremendous sense of Victory and American Dominance and Pride. I dont think we will be as lucky this time. We have a completely dysfunctional Government that is offering no solutions, just childlike bickering. We wont know for sure for many years to come; but I dont see a good ending for this. I think the impact is going to be devastating for generations to come.