Slate wonders amidst all of this talk about this fall being a repeat of 1929 (we weren’t alive then, so we can’t really compare the two), why we haven’t heard tales of bankers jumping out windows like they supposedly did after ye olde market crashes.
Relax, they’re not pushing for more suicides. Instead, they comfortingly suggest that things actually aren’t as bad as they were back then. Again, we’ll have to take their word for it.
Slate: The Great Crash of 1929—and, to a lesser extent, the crash of 1987—did lead some people to commit suicide. But in nearly all of those cases, the deceased had suffered a major loss when the market collapsed. Now, due in large part to those earlier experiences, investors tend to keep their portfolios far more diversified, so as to avoid having their entire fortunes wiped out when stocks take a downturn. In addition, some of the worst declines in the past week have been limited to a smaller number of companies (such as Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs), further limiting the potential damage to individual investors.
Furthermore, Slate points out that those stories of mass suicides following market crashes are largely myths
Tall tales about panicked speculators leaping to their deaths have become part of the popular lore about the Great Crash. But although jumping from bridges or buildings was the second-most-popular form of suicide in New York between 1921 and 1931, the “crash-related jumping epidemic” is just a myth. Between Black Thursday and the end of 1929, only four of the 100 suicides and suicide attempts reported in the New York Times were plunges linked to the crash, and only two took place on Wall Street. (There were some crash-related suicides that didn’t involve fatal jumps: The president of County Trust Co. and the head of Rochester Gas and Electric both killed themselves, but they used a gun and gas, respectively.)
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.