The Boom Booms

 In economics, boom and bust is a time period characterized by sustained increases in several economic indicators followed by a sharp and rapid contraction. It is in reference to a severe business cycle. The phrase “boom and bust” pertains to capitalism. Times of increased business and investment have collapsed leaving widespread poverty such as the depressions of 1837 and 1857 in the United States. For example, in the early 1800s in Ohio people were buying land on credit to sell at twice the price but land became too expensive to buy. At the same time, wheat prices became too low to transport wheat to market. Wheat was $1.50 per bushel in 1816; by 1821, 20 cents. In 1894 someone wrote, “Of course it stood to reason that the music hall boom would bust sooner or later . . . In fact the boom has busted and according to the published balance sheet the Alhambra has suffered as much as the rest in consequence.” Business leaders such as automaker Paul Hoffman have used the phrase in calling for increased civic responsibility toward taming the business cycle; he also said, “we cannot live with a crash” in reference to 26 depressions over 100 years including “the bust” of the 1930s.

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