Armagideon Time

This used to be the present

June 23rd, 2010

The Fifties have been mythologized as a period of prosperity, one health but that perception of economic stability was not as clear cut to the folks who lived in those times. In fact, recipe the immediate post-World War II period was a time of many upheavals — the rapid retooling of a wartime economy into a peacetime one, housing shortages, widespread labor unrest, and a 1953-54 recession caused in part by post-Korean War inflation.

So when the Dow Jones average creeped past its 1929 high-water mark of 386.1 in the fall of 1954, it was only natural that there would be some trepidation from folks to whom the Great Depression was still a relatively recent memory.  The House the Luces Built stepped up to assuage the public’s anxieties with a December 20, 1954 LIFE Magazine editorial which outlined the differences between the 1929 and 1954 economic pictures, stressing the fundamental strengths of the economy as well as the federal contingency plans put in place to mitigate the effects of a possible downturn…

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you.  In 1954, a center-right publication endorsed policies overseen by a Republican president and a GOP-controlled congress which would be considered too extreme by many of today’s Democrats and an socialist abomination by contemporary Republicans.

Of course this was a time before the long-range strategic planning of Keynesian economics — in which the government acts as a counterweight to mitigate the effects of captialism’s intrinisic boom-and-bust cycles — fell out of favor and was replaced with the mad grab for speculative short money which has guided the American economy for the past thirty years, where each subsequent popped bubble is more devastating than the last and each so-called recovery benefits fewer and fewer people (much less the nation’s economic health as a whole).

Related posts:

  1. Long time passing
  2. Remembrance of things lost
  3. Every Record Tells a Story #27: The present is well out of hand

3 Responses to “This used to be the present”

  1. Nick Whitman

    It’s one of the things that amazes me most about today’s American politics.

    Obama, a center-right corporatist if one actually looks at his policies and cabinet appointments, is considered an honest-to-god socialist by an enormous segment of the population. Please. The man’s about as far to the left as Richard Nixon.

    There’s no room for historical comparisons, let alone logic, critical thinking or intellectual consistency, in today’s political “debate.” Since I am physically unable to stop paying attention to politics and culture, I’ve begun to soothe myself by noting how hilariously prescient the cyberpunk RPG sourcebooks of my misspent youth look today.

  2. damanoid

    Well obviously, all this just demonstrates how thoroughly the government and society were once infiltrated by Communists.

    Fortunately America woke up to the danger of creeping socialism that has since turned Europe into a wasteland. Our system now recognizes the need to prevent Big Government from trampling the rights of corporations and other important citizens.

  3. Nick Whitman

    We’re so lucky, really. How did we survive commies like Eisenhower, anyway? It’s only through God’s firm hand on the tiller of his chosen country that we were able to make it through the dark days of Communist rule and into the bright tomorrows promised by St. Ronnie and his torchbearers. God bless the USA.

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