Time have published a wonderful set of interviews with old-timers who can remember the Great Depression of the early 1930s.
"We just knew that we couldn't have things, and that was it."
"Don't expect any presents, because the banks have closed."
"These kids today are so bright and so smart, but they just don't have any sense of responsibility. If this little downturn can wake them up, they'll be magnificent."
"Nobody in my era splurged. No one traveled."
"The Depression is really hardest on those who can least afford it — the people who are not in great health, the people who are not educated, the people who are not gifted or blessed with good fortune."
Compare that with 2006. When some people spent just for the sake of spending money.
"Paul Levine, Signature’s owner, will 'offer you a glass of Courvoisier while you discuss your cycling habits.'"
3 days ago