THE Roaring ’20s had much in common with the 1880s worldwide land boom. The early to mid-1920s actually featured a land boom which became overwritten by the better-known late-’20s stock market bubble which burst into the Great Depression of the 1930s. (This was very similar to the 1973 land price bubble having been written out of history in favour of the story of the OPEC crisis.)
AN excellent account of the early 1920s property bubble in Germany was given by the Austrian foreign correspondent Bruno Heilig in 1941. We are aware of the Weimar Republic’s immediate hyperinflation (less aware of how Germany remedied it!) and only too aware of how the Great Depression saw Germany elect Hitler to power.
ALTHOUGH it came to extend across much of the nation, the USA 1920s real estate boom became known as “The Florida Bubble”.
MAYBE the peak of the 1920’s property bubble in Australia was best characterised by the arrival of the attractive “Californian Bungalow” in the mid-1920s.
BUT there was something other than high living and flappers, that accompanied the mad frenzies of the 1880s and the 1920s. This was rampant poverty amongst the underclasses. (Is it impossible levels of private debt today?) It was only newspaper headlines that presented the image of fun and glitz to a suffering wider populace.
MARK TWAIN, friend of the American social philosopher Henry George, had noted the superficiality of the 1880s boom period when he labelled the period as “The Gilded Age”. Twain had recognised the heart of George’s Progress and Poverty painted high land prices to be the root cause of low wages and profits.
SO, here we are again in the 2020s with rip-roaring property markets again, as though the sub-prime loans affair only 14 years ago never occurred, and with central banks and their governments pumping land values for all they’re worth. Their complicity in the real estate Ponzi is truly mind boggling!
THE financial depression of 2025/26 beckons.