Where are the infamous Wall Street Suicides?

If we’re in the midst of a financial collapse, why aren’t executives jumping out of office buildings?” I don’t know about you but when I learned about the Great Depression that was the depiction I got. When I got to undergraduate school, my economics professor told me that was a myth. Let’s see what she has to say; here is her reason:

“Because the current situation hasn’t had nearly as devastating an effect on people’s personal finances. The Great Crash of 1929—and, to a lesser extent, the crash of 1987—did lead some people to commit suicide. But in nearly all of those cases, the deceased had suffered a major loss when the market collapsed. Now, due in large part to those earlier experiences, investors tend to keep their portfolios far more diversified, so as to avoid having their entire fortunes wiped out when stocks take a downturn. In addition, some of the worst declines in the past week have been limited to a smaller number of companies (such as Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs), further limiting the potential damage to individual investors.”

Well this would lead you to believe that we are smarter investors than we were in 1929. Of course, none of this says anything about the government being the reason.

“Tall tales about panicked speculators leaping to their deaths have become part of the popular lore about the Great Crash. But although jumping from bridges or buildings was the second-most-popular form of suicide in New York between 1921 and 1931, the “crash-related jumping epidemic” is just a myth. Between Black Thursday and the end of 1929, only four of the 100 suicides and suicide attempts reported in the New York Times were plunges linked to the crash, and only two took place on Wall Street. (There were some crash-related suicides that didn’t involve fatal jumps: The president of County Trust Co. and the head of Rochester Gas and Electric both killed themselves, but they used a gun and gas, respectively.)”

There you go. My Economics Professor was right and my high school history teacher was over exaggerating.

Side note: This is funny:

“Will Rogers quipped that “you had to stand in line to get a window to jump out of“; and soon Eddie Cantor was joking that hotel clerks were asking guests if they wanted rooms “for sleeping or jumping.”

Little did they know it was an over exaggeration. Now this brings an important point. First, are we that bad off? and second who decided that it was okay to teach our children myths. These myths make Capitalism look bad, even though this problem is the governments. The education system already pens the Great Depression on unstable Capitalism and now Capitalism is killing people. If schools were private then we would have a much better chance that the information being taught would be better researched.

The rest is here.


Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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