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    #1

    successive interval

    Dear all,

    How should I understand the underlined in the sentence below?
    what does "successive intervals" and "paper credit" refer to respecitvely?
    Why the stock gambling is demoralizing?

    Thanks in advance.

    “It has been a history of extravagant expansions in the business of the country, followed by ruinous contractions,” said President James Buchanan in 1857. “At successive intervals the best and most enterprising men have been tempted to their ruin by excessive bank loans of mere paper credit, exciting them to extravagant importations of foreign goods, wild speculations, and ruinous and demoralizing stock gambling.”
    Last edited by Eartha; 13-Dec-2010 at 09:00.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: successive interval

    Quote Originally Posted by Eartha View Post
    Dear all,

    How should I understand the underlined in the sentence below?
    what does "successive intervals" and "paper credit" refer to respecitvely?
    Why the stock gambling is demoralizing?

    Thanks in advance.

    It has been a history of extravagant expansions in the business of the country, followed by ruinous contractions,” said President James Buchanan in 1857. “At successive intervals the best and most enterprising men have been tempted to their ruin by excessive bank loans of mere paper credit, exciting them to extravagant importations of foreign goods, wild speculations, and ruinous and demoralizing stock gambling.”
    The "mere paper credit" of bank loans means that what they were spending on all these foreign goods wasn't really their own assets. It was only their money "on paper." They still had to pay back the amount of the loan.

    "Successive intervals" here simply means "ongoing", "without pause". It's used rather loosely here. More literally, from Oct 1st to Nov 1st and from Nov 1st to Dec 1st are two successive intervals - that is, two intervals of time that follow upon (succeed) each other.

    Stock gambling is demoralizing because most of us lose, especially in the last few years.
    "Demoralizing" has nothing to do with morals, but rather with morale.

    Buchanan is saying that good men are continuously taking out bank loans to buy fancy goods and to bet on the stock market. It sounds like not much has changed over the years!

    PS: I just thought that, by "successive intervals", he might have meant successive boom periods, but he doesn't actually say this.

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