I have a question I would like anybody who reads my blog to help me answer. I have a growing feeling that there is going to be a major conflict/revolution/takeover of the United States of America in the next decade. I don’t think such a thing is guaranteed to happen, but I also feel that the probability of such an event is greater than zero, so worth thinking about. I try to study economic history to gain insights as an investor of today, but one topic I never hear about is what happens to your average retail shareholder during a major negative event large enough to threaten the status quo of a government?
There have been many large negative events in human history, it does not take much to just name a few off the top of your head. Examples being World War 1 and 2, the Russian revolution, the rise of Communism in China, Venezuela, the Yugoslavian civil war, the American civil war, etc… What I have never heard any documentary or book talk about though is what happened to a normal person maybe in 1939 who put their meager savings into the German stock market before the war? Did they make or lose money? Did they even maintain the control of their shares or was it taken by the government? Was their money frozen during the war? Did they still get dividends?
As small retail shareholders we rely on a miraculous system of banks, brokerages, exchanges, government agencies and laws to allow us to very easily with the click of a few buttons acquire ownership of a small slice of a corporation and gets all the benefits that conveys. The ability to vote, any dividends and future growth in share price. It’s really a remarkable system and worth stopping and thinking about how amazing it is. It is however also a potentially fragile system, only the power of the state really guarantees that it functions and if that power ever changed it’s mind or simply ceased to exist, what recourse would any small shareholder have?
If anyone has any information about such questions, please pass it my way. Anything is helpful if it is a name of a book or even a personal family story.