In today’s world of penny-pinchers, it’s not too uncommon to spend Sunday afternoons with your family cutting coupons instead of swiping your credit card at high-end department stores. From families to business owners, everyone is looking to save a few bucks.
Most people don’t need to be reminded that we’re in a recession. The media does a great job of supplying daily reminders. And if the media weren’t enough, many have experienced the recession’s effects firsthand, whether standing in long lines at the unemployment office or trading in gas-guzzling trucks in favor of fewer gas station trips. Although the events surrounding the economic crisis have largely affected society, many people – including me – have thought, “Is it really that bad?”
Yes, it is that bad, but it could be a lot worse. During the Great Depression, one of the longest, most devastating events in history, the world experienced hardships way beyond what we’re seeing today:

  • Named after President Herbert Hoover, “Hoovervilles,” or shantytowns were all too common. So were “Hoover stew,” food served in soup kitchens, “Hoover blankets,” newspapers used as blankets, and “Hoover wagons,” broken cars pulled by mules.
  • In early 1933, the unemployment rate peaked at 25 percent, leaving one out of four Americans without a job.
  • It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of children living during the Great Depression did not have adequate food, shelter or medical care.
  • After the initial stock market crash, New York’s financial district saw a rise in suicides. It’s said that hotel clerks began asking new guests if they needed a room for sleeping…or jumping.
  • In the mountain communities of Appalachia, families were reduced to a basic diet of dandelions and berries. Some children were so hungry, they chewed on their own hands.

Compared to the Great Depression, we’re doing all right. Steve Krodman agrees. In “The Dog Food Economic Index,” Krodman puts a positive spin on the economy using something extraordinarily unexpected: dog food.

The Krodman Dog-Food Index argues that we’ll be in a depression when people stop buying dog food.

For now, grocery stores have aisles devoted to nothing more than dog food. What’s more, many pet owners aren’t simply buying regular dog food…they’re investing in fancy-pants dog food that doesn’t contain genetically modified organisms, is grain-free and is made of grass-fed buffalo. Hey…you get the point.
Krodman makes one final statement: “When the economy gets really bad, not only do we no longer buy food for dogs, we start buying dogs for food.”
Now that’s a recession.