Could Idaho Survive Another Great Depression?
Old-timers have told me that Idaho did better than most states during the Great Depression. While farm prices plummeted, many small farm families were still able to feed themselves and often barter for other needs. The state also came out of the Great Recession intact and then boomed.
What would the next round look like?
First, from the historical perspective, rural Idaho still has many of the strengths it had during past turbulence. These may not appear as positives during good times, but self-sufficiency is powerful when unemployment hits double digits elsewhere.
We hear a lot of talk about a recession. There appears no consensus on where the economy is going. A few days ago I listened to a show and the host said we would be fine. Because we still have a labor shortage and jobs will be plentiful, at least in the months ahead.
Then you find the doomsday predictions. One comes from the economist Peter Schiff. During an interview with talk show host Jesse Kelly, the economist warned the actual inflation number is much higher than the government figure. Schiff blames a revision made many years ago when it comes to the inflation gauge.
Near the end of the 8-minute interview, he drops a bomb. He expects a depression worse than anything we saw during the 1930s.
Idaho is a different place than it was 90 years ago. As recently as 60 years ago, Boise had a population under 35,000. Now, the Treasure Valley has about 800,000 people. Not many of those people grow their potatoes and raise their chickens.
We city dwellers need to find something we can use for barter. Junk silver comes to mind. I used to keep an extensive wine collection as a source of trade. I can’t stand the stuff but figured I could swap it for some bread and vegetables. I say this in the past tense. I needed space and over a couple of years gave away the wine as gifts.