The Troubles

Hard Times is an iconic image from photographer Matthew Brady during The Troubles

The Troubles, also sometimes known as the Great Contraction, were a period of worldwide economic privation from 1917 to 1926 due to the economic collapse of multiple stock and bond markets throughout the world because of a speculative debt crisis amongst some of the world’s largest banks.

The collapse of banking sectors in multiple countries led to a general consolidation of private banks into state-owned hands in many countries as national governments became a lender of last resort in many places.

According to historical records throughout the world from the time, approximately 90% of global banking entities were absorbed by larger banks or national governments—leaving only a handful of the most well capitalized banks to survive the period.

The banking industry merged, and so did many stock exchanges in different countries. They all came together to form the Amalgamated Bourse, which became a single entity controlling many smaller national stock markets. This made trading across the globe easier, and the headquarters were in Pørtland, Cascadia. Later, the Amalgamated Bourse became the Cascadia Stock Exchange, with trading hubs in many major cities worldwide.

The societal impact of The Troubles on nations around the globe was tremendous as the economic effects dominoed to businesses and the general populous. There was a dramatic uptick in job losses as businesses went out of business or restructured and the impacts snowballed into the loss of more than 130 million houses worldwide to bank ownership as people failed to make mortgage payments.