The Wealth Is In The Denominator

This is the longest period of practically uninterrupted rise in security prices in our history. The rise was more rapid than has ever been seen, and its speculative attraction influenced a larger part of the public than ever before. The psychological illusion upon which it was based, though not essentially new, has been stronger and more widespread than has ever been the case in this country in the past.

This illusion is summed up in the phrase ‘the new era’. The phrase itself is not new. Every period of speculation rediscovers it. During every preceding period of stock speculation and subsequent collapse business conditions have been discussed in the same unrealistic fashion as in recent years. There has been the same widespread idea that in some miraculous way, endlessly elaborated but never actually defined, the fundamental conditions and requirements of progress and prosperity have been changed, that old economic principles have been abrogated, that the country has entered upon a period of unprecedentedly easy and rapid expansion, that all economic problems have been solved, that industry has suddenly become more efficient than it ever was before, that prosperity has become universal, that production and trade have been growing at an exceptionally high and permanently accelerating rate, that business profits are destined to grow faster and without limit, and that the expansion of credit can have no end.

– The Business Week, November 2, 1929