“The Country Needs A Period Of Rest And Readjustment”

The more I read about economist Roger Babson, the more I realize that he’s a hard guy to sum up in a blog entry. He was an economist who believed the business cycle followed the laws of nature. He thought that stocks were like gravity, so what goes up must come down. He didn’t just use gravity as a metaphor, but really believed the planet’s gravitational pull was a literal influence on business. He eventually founded the Gravity Research Foundation to study gravity (and the possibility of anti-gravity) in 1949.

Babson College, a business school he founded in Massachusetts, includes this note in their official biography of Babson:

His pseudoscientific notion, that the laws of physics account for every rise and ebb in the economy, had no more validity than the ancient beliefs that the stars govern the destinies of men or that base metals could be transmuted into gold or silver.

But it turns out that he did have some good ideas, and successfully predicted the crash of 1929 (I’m not sure how many crashes he may have predicted that didn’t come true, but that one he got right).

He was also the Prohibitionist Party’s candidate for President in 1940. I had no idea such a party still exists, but here is the tribute to him on their website.

Fun fact: The prohibitionist party mascot is a camel.

“THE COUNTRY NEEDS A PERIOD OF REST AND READJUSTMENT” This Is the View of Roger W. Babson, Expert Economist, Who Thinks This Is a Time for “Cainting Ourselves to the Floor and Thinking” — A Careful Analysis of Financial Affairs (PDF)

From July 31, 1910

One response to ““The Country Needs A Period Of Rest And Readjustment””

  1. I went to Colby college, and so am familiar with Babson. He donated money; in return, Colby had to accept and display his “Gravity Stone” monument.

    Here’s a picture:

    Wikipedia sums up Colby’s attitude toward this gift/imposition nicely:
    “The stone at Colby College was once in front of the Keyes Building on the main academic quadrangle but was moved to a more obscure location near the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center. Students would often knock it over in an ironic testament to gravity’s power.”


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