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the fall felt around the world

by Sayraphim on September 18, 2008

So I watch the news and I see what’s going on in America at the moment, and watch it ripple out to the rest of the world, and I wonder what’s going to happen.

Depression or Recession, I think the bottom line is that most people wont have a lot of excess money any more, after paying for bills, housing and food there will be very little left. And I think that it’s going to have ramifications across the board.

And I think that one area that will suffer is the online craft market. I think that a lot of the craft sold is decorational, and people won’t have money to spend prettying the place up. And the rest that is sold, clothing and the like, I think a greater amount of people will start making those things rather than buying them.

I look back to the depression between the world wars, and how people made everything and made do, or went without. I have a hand written recipe book from my great grandmother, passed down by my late grandmother, which lists hundreds of recipes that are without egg, or sugar, or anything else that was in short supply. It has yellowed articles, carefully cut out from magazines, on how to get more wear out of your socks, how to darn your underwear, how to turn worn out dresses into skirts, and worn out skirts into clothing for your little ones.

I have an incredible book called Wartime Women, edited by Dorothy Sheridan, which came out of a program by the British government called Mass Observation, in which thousands of men, women and children were encouraged to keep diaries of their day to day life. These records include how they lived around bombing and blackouts, and how they made do with the little rations they were allowed.

And I think that looking to the past we can get a feel of what the future holds.

There is such a DIY mentality within craft and indy circles today that I think we’ll be ok as a crafting community, but I do think that internet sales of crafty stuff are going to suffer. I think that people will want to do it for themselves due to fiscal limitations. And I wonder if, when this recession lifts, will people go back to wanting to buy from other people?

But then, the baby boomers, as a reaction to having watched their parents scrimp and save and make everything at home, went out and bought everything they could. So maybe the next generation will do that too.

I don’t know how long this financial crisis will last. But I do think it will be interesting to watch what happens to our society and both our mass consumerism (which is on the slide anyway, at least in some circles) and all our “Buy Handmade” pledges.

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