While there are many advantages to a free market society, such as higher living standards, more choice, greater opportunity, and just more fun, one of the downsides is that the economy can all too often overheat and go from an upswing to a disaster in a short period of time. This cycle is called "boom and bust," and no capitalist society has yet achieved the balance necessary to avoid it, though the Nordic model has certainly learned to alleviate the extremes and cushion its poorer citizens. While good regulation can take the edge off and shorten the downturn while lessening its impact on the ordinary man, America is sadly often encumbered with short-sighted or weak regulators who prefer to juice the economy as hard as they can when things are good. This is usually to please their rich donors or create an illusion that they're really great at governing, while then running around panicking when it predictably implodes on them.
That means even if things are going well today, another recession is inevitable. It might not be tomorrow, but it's going to come, and you better be ready. Think of the tale from Aesop's Fables of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant spends the summer collecting food and preparing for winter. When the cold season comes, he is well-fed and warm. The grasshopper messes around all summer, spending sunny days at leisure; come winter, he's in serious trouble. Let's find out if you're more ant or grasshopper, and that will tell us whether the next bust will wipe you out, or see you emerge stronger than ever!
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