How Do You Define Depression?

That’s the title of a Real Time Economics blog entry in today’s WSJ.  While there is no formal definition of depression, 30% of all Americans now think we are in one.

The latest survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted February 4-8, found 30% of the public saying the nation is “in depression,” up from 22% in October. About 57% say we’re in recession.


4 responses to “How Do You Define Depression?

  1. A depression only exists if people think it does. This explains what McCain said a few months ago, that the “fundamentals of the economy are strong”. He was playing a psychological game: If consumers and investors believe the economy is strong, they will spend and invest their money, and the economy really will become strong. If they think it‘s weak, they will spend and invest less, and it will become weak. The thought dictates the reality.

    The best investment advice right now is to throw all your money into Zoloft stock.

  2. Depression – I always associated the Great Depression with Wall Street Executives jumping out the window, and I thought the push at lowering their wages was the governments way of saying – Go Ahead, We dont think youll do it… Funny

  3. In economics, a depression is a sustained, long downturn in one or more economies. It is more severe than a recession, which is seen as a normal downturn in the business cycle.

    >> Agreed, but this is an ambiguous definition. Even the term “recession” is poorly defined, as we must wait quarters before a pronouncement is made on when we may have entered a recession. To then say that we’ve entered a period that is “more severe” than a recession only layers on the ambiguity. Hence, it is universally accepted that there is no precise definition of an economic recession. It’s similar to the legal standard of porn: “I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it. – DI

  4. When I can’t get my cheeseburger because the restaurant can’t afford to buy beef, that is both depressing and a depression.

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