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Letter Re: Safe Businesses in an Economic Depression?

Mr. Rawles:
I’m convinced that given the bursting of the Debt Bubble, the American economy is about to take The Big Swim, a lot like it did back in the 1930s. If this does happen, what sort of businesses will be safe? Do you know what sorts of businesses bucked the down-trend in the 1930s? Thanks, – Chester

JWR Replies: According to statistics published some 20 years ago by Dr.Ravi Batra [1], the safest businesses and industries during the worst years of the Great Depression (1929-1933) were:

Repair shops
Educational services (A lot of young men that couldn’t find work borrowed money to go to trade schools and college.)
Healthcare services
Bicycle shops
Bus transportation
Gasoline service stations
Second hand stores
Legal services
Drug or proprietary stores

To bring that list up to date, I would speculatively add a few more sectors and business that are likely to do well in the event of another major depression:
Home security/locksmithing (since a higher crime rate is inevitable in bad economic times.)
Entertainment/diversions (such as DVD rentals)
Truck farming/large scale vegetable gardening (since just 2% of the population now feeds the other 98%–whereas back in the 1930s the US was still a predominantly agrarian society)
Export consumer goods (since the US Dollar is likely to continue to slip versus most other currencies)