by Dale Schlundt
How do credit and loans work, both in personal and professional contexts? Should I borrow to purchase a car? So why do educators wait until they’re teenagers go into debt, to show them how to stay out of debt? To draw the rather expansive fabric of this topic together, the bigger question is, “So why do students need to learn through their very own costly experiences whenever we have a lot of viable historical ones from which we can take these lessons?” They are questions that students should be asking, although they may be unaware that they even have to ask them.
If we are going to teach history, my cause is based on making it relevant in terms of it becoming useful in a students’ forthcoming adult lives. Quite simply, give the history being taught \”value\” — the same value which refers to when mentioning the possibility contributions of a new employee or any recently acquired asset inside a company for that matter.
Yet, history doesn\’t give itself this value alone. Without the individual deriving a note from it, history in itself is useless. Students of history have to create the very aspect you want to take away from this. Issues for example those mentioned previously that create this value shouldn\’t only be integrated into history lectures to boost our pedagogical strategies, such as assisting students in remembering the events, but additionally to teach practical life lessons.
To put a more specific concentrate on this topic for the purpose of teaching, I ask the question, “What does the current housing crisis have to do with the Great Depression of 1929?” When reviewing the depression and also the terrible streak of poverty eternally linked to the crises of the early 20th century, the endless aspects we can learn from the mistakes of history are incredibly transparent.
Although not necessarily a new comparison, I make reference to our recent housing crisis. The primary flaw within our era\’s housing market downfall as well as in this respect differing in the depression of the 1930\’s is the feature of variable rate of interest loans. As David Wheelock, an economist for that Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, eloquently describes the housing industry crash of the Great Depression as a trailing result, in the 21st century irresponsible mortgage loans were a preliminary contributing catalyst.
Variable interest rate loans, which a lot of young to middle aged adults grabbed as their financial advisors confidently assured them it\’s the best course of action for new home buyers. This best plan of action held true — that is, until those seemingly great interest rates did what all variables do: change. As with the 1920\’s just prior to The Depression, with the spread of consumerism and also the increasing desire to own material items, the term deja vu comes to mind and seems justifiably appropriate. It is realistic to convey that the ideology in our society hasn\’t changed to the large extent, despite the potential lessons of history that have been ignored by and lost to society.
Who does not want that new boat, brand new car, or oversized house that\’s just not a fiscally sound purchase? The problem was and continues to be, what are the long term costs of these decisions?
Yet once more, much like in the 1930\’s, the instant that banks are pressured, the customer that receives rapid end of the stick. As Bruce Watson states in an article for Daily Finance, throughout the first five years of the Great Depression, near to three quarters of a million individuals no longer had ownership of their property. The large majority of foreclosures the author was referring to were on family farms, individuals borrowing to carve out a living on their property.
While forecloses on both rural and urban properties weren\’t due to the same specific reasons as variable interest rates in the 21st century, regardless of the contrasts between the two era\’s housing crashes, which Watson highlights, I see the remarkable similarities.?When one simply studies each crisis through a comparative lens, the differences appear to assume minimal significance when analyzing the broader trend of the consumer going into financial ruin due to their reliance or perhaps trust in bank loans.
That is the significance of the comparison that I express to my students. Specifics will invariably vary between economic dowturns, however the ever-deepening hole of debts are the trend we see individuals become a victim of throughout history. Of course, I should note that property loss was just one element of a much larger picture during the Great Depression, including widespread hunger and far worse. Regardless, the comparison is a vital lesson that provides educators a chance to teach U.S history using the added lesson which makes it relevant to today.? Fortunately, these opportunities are without end and easily available to those who\’ve a passion for making history part of our students’ reality.
Historians who study oral history understand that the many individuals who experienced the Great Depression and absorbed the lessons from it have now passed. His or her numbers continue to dwindle, the teachings they are able to offer the generations of today pass with them, unknown to teenagers who may benefit the most.
The concept behind this information is not to give students a pessimistic outlook on life or business, nor is it to scare them from participating in such. My passion is to give them a deeper knowledge of what they study. In cases like this, perhaps through a multidisciplinary view being only loosely related to the study history at times, history can help these students may participate wisely within our economy using the ever fading lessons the past has to give. The vista we undertake history can become our strongest asset.
Dale Schlundt holds a Master\’s Degree in Adult Education having a concentration in American History from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently an Adjunct Professor for Palo Alto College. Dale\’s new book Education Decoded (A Collection of My Writings) has become available on Amazon in paper back as well as Kindle Edition.