Table Topics questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"Go-go economy -- gone"
- The Great Crash of 1929 affected city people more, because country folk were not very prosperous to
start with and they still had land when there was no money. If you lost your job tomorrow with
little hope for a new one, how would your life change? Would you consider moving from city
or suburb to a more inexpensive, self-sufficient lifestyle in the country? Do you think you
could learn the survival skills to live off the land? What else would you need?
- Some Seattleites were prosperous before The Crash, and others aspired to be through
stock investments. That sense of unlimited potential in a wildly speculative market turned
out to be deadly. People lost their assets and their hope. Some got involved with Communists and
crackpots. In desperate times, what is the appeal of radical political philosophies,
both left and right? Do you think your thinking would change in a similar situation?
What is the relationship of economic prosperity to democracy?
- Bad times can bring out the best in people. In the early '30s, charity was mostly private and personal.
Even government aid was organized at the local or county level. Are people today as comfortable with
direct charitable giving? Would you hire a homeless man to do yardwork? Or come to a stranger's
assistance in an emergency? Now that most relief is organized or government-assisted, do you think
people are as sympathetic with the plight of the poor?
- Homeless men were the main occupants of Hooverville shantytowns. Assuming at least some of
them had families, where were the women and children? What is the effect of poverty on family
life? Have the causes or demographics of homelessness changed? Recently, an encampment of homeless
people was razed by the city. What issues were involved? How do you feel about this?
- The Seattle Times seemed unwilling at first to accept the extent of economic disaster,
even though advertising revenues must have dropped off precipitously. Why was it hard for
the newspaper to see the truth, even while it was reporting the facts? Can you think of
media examples of this today? Is there a difference between fact and truth?
- In our current economy, what resources and industries keep people working? What traditional
industries are suffering and what new ones have emerged? Check the newspaper for hot regional stocks.
Think back. How were they doing a year ago? Were they around 10 years ago? How about 67 years ago
when the market crashed?
- When business was booming in the '20s, coverage in The Times grew from half a page to four pages.
Does a newspaper reflect the interests of the times? Look through the newspaper and think about
what the sections say about our lives. How might coverage or presentation have changed since the '20s?
What coverage is new altogether?
Copyright © 1996 The Seattle Times Company