Post–World War II economic expansion

The post–World War II economic expansion, also known as the Golden Age of Capitalism[1][2], postwar economic boom, the long boom, was a period of strong economic growth beginning after World War II and ending with the 1973–75 recession.[3] The United States, Soviet Union, Western European and East Asian countries in particular experienced unusually high and sustained growth, together with full employment. Contrary to early predictions, this high growth also included many countries that had been devastated by the war, such as Japan (Japanese post-war economic miracle), West Germany and Austria (Wirtschaftswunder), South Korea (Miracle of the Han River), France (Trente Glorieuses), Italy (Italian economic miracle), and Greece (Greek economic miracle).

Suburbia by David Shankbone
In the United States and several other countries, the boom was manifested in suburban development and urban sprawl, aided by automobile ownership.


In academic literature, the period is frequently referred to as the post–World War II economic boom, though this term can refer to much shorter booms in particular markets. It is also known as the Long Boom, though this term is generic and can refer to other periods. The Golden age of Capitalism is a common name for this period in both academic and economics books.

The term is also used in other contexts. In older sources and occasionally in contemporary ones, Golden age of Capitalism can refer to the period of the Second Industrial Revolution from approximately 1870 to 1914, which also saw rapid economic expansion. Yet another name for the quarter century following the end of World War II is the Age of Marx, though the Soviet Union's economic statistics were not reliable during this period.[4][5]


Economist Roger Middleton states that economic historians generally agree on 1950 as the start date for the golden age,[6] while Robert Skidelsky states 1951 is the most recognized start date.[7] Both Skidelsky and Middleton have 1973 as the generally recognized end date, though sometimes the golden age is considered to have ended as early as 1970.

This long term business cycle ended with a number of events in the early 1970s:

While this is the global period, specific countries experienced business expansions for different periods; in Taiwan, the Taiwan Miracle lasted into the late 1990s, for instance, while in France the period is referred to as Trente Glorieuses (Glorious 30 [years]) and is considered to extend for the 30-year period from 1945 to 1975.

Global economic climate

Us unemployment rates 1950 2005
In the United States, unemployment fluctuated during the 1950s, but dropped steadily during the 1960s.

OECD members enjoyed real GDP growth averaging over 4% per year in the 1950s, and nearly 5% per year in the 1960s, compared with 3% in the 1970s and 2% in the 1980s.[8]

Skidelsky devotes ten pages of his 2009 book Keynes: The Return of the Master to a comparison of the golden age to what he calls the Washington Consensus period, which he dates as spanning 1980–2009 (1973–1980 being a transitional period):[7]

Metric Golden Age Washington Consensus
Average global growth 4.8% 3.2%
Unemployment (US) 4.8% 6.1%
Unemployment (France) 1.2% 9.5%
Unemployment (Germany) 3.1% 7.5%
Unemployment (Great Britain) 1.6% 7.4%

Skidelsky suggests the high global growth during the golden age was especially impressive as during that period Japan was the only major Asian economy enjoying high growth (Taiwan and South Korea at the time being small economies). It was not until later that the world had the exceptional growth of China raising the global average. Skidelsky also reports that inequality was generally decreasing during the golden age, whereas since the Washington Consensus was formed it has been increasing.

Globally, the golden age was a time of unusual financial stability, with crises far less frequent and intense than before or after. Martin Wolf reports that between 1945–71 (27 years) the world saw only 38 financial crises, whereas from 1973–97 (24 years) there were 139.[9]


Allied war bonds matured during these years, transferring cash from governments to private households.


High productivity growth from before the war continued after the war and until the early 1970s. Manufacturing was aided by automation technologies such as feedback controllers, which appeared in the late 1930s were a fast-growing area of investment following the war. Wholesale and retail trade benefited from new highway systems, distribution warehouses, and material handling equipment such as forklifts and intermodal containers.[10][11] Oil displaced coal in many applications, particularly in locomotives and ships.[12] In agriculture, the post WW II period saw the widespread introduction of the following:

New products and services

Industries that were created or expanded during the post war period included television, commercial aviation and particularly in the US, computer technology.

Economic aftermath of war

Economists employing Marxian economic analysis and Crisis theory argue that the period of prosperity was a temporary phase in capitalist development fueled by a revival of capital stock, large pools of labor and raw materials, and technological innovation emerging from the end of the Second World War and the scale of defeats of the international working class.[13] This era of prosperity helped prop up the perspective that the crises and business cycles inherent to capitalism could be solved through macroeconomic Keynesian policies, when in actuality the fundamental instabilities of capitalism had not been resolved.[14]

Keynesian economics

Constructing the Stockholm Metro in 1957
Many Western governments funded large infrastructure projects during this period. Here the redevelopment of Norrmalm and the Stockholm Metro, Sweden.

Keynesian economists argue that the post war expansion was caused by adoption of Keynesian economic policies. Naomi Klein has argued the high growth enjoyed by Europe and America was the result of Keynesian economic policies and in the case of rapidly rising prosperity that this post war period saw in parts of South America, by the influence of developmentalist economics led by Raúl Prebisch.[15]

Infrastructure spending

One of Eisenhower's enduring achievements was championing and signing the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956.[16] He justified the project through the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 as essential to American security during the Cold War. It was believed that large cities would be targets in a possible war, hence the highways were designed to facilitate their evacuation and ease military maneuvers.

Military spending

Another explanation for this period is the theory of the permanent war economy, which suggests that the large spending on the military helped stabilize the global economy; this has also been referred to as "Military Keynesianism".

Financial repression

This period also saw financial repression—low nominal interest rates and low or negative real interest rates (nominal rates lower than inflation plus taxation), via government policy—resulting respectively in debt servicing costs being low (low nominal rates) and in liquidation of existing debt (via inflation and taxation).[17] This allowed countries (such as the US and UK) to both deal with their existing government debt level and reduce the level of debt without needing to direct a high portion of government spending to debt service.

Wealth redistribution

Historical Marginal Tax Rate for Highest and Lowest Income Earners
Historical federal marginal tax rates for income for the lowest and highest income earners in the US[18]
United States Income Distribution 1947-2007
Real income in the United States by percentile, normalized to 2007 costs. All social classes grew wealthier during the 1950s and 1960s, but the lower percentiles have only seen marginal improvement since then.

Much property was destroyed in war. In the inter-war period, the Great Depression also caused investments to lose value.[19]

During both World Wars, progressive taxation and capital levies were introduced, with the generally-stated aim of distributing the sacrifices required by the war more evenly. While tax rates dipped between the wars, they did not return to pre-war levels. Top tax rates increased dramatically, in some cases tenfold. This had a significant effect on both income and wealth distributions. Such policies were commonly referred to as the "conscription of income" and "conscription of wealth".[19]

a fundamental objection to the government's policy of conscription is that it conscripts human life only, and that it does not attempt to conscript wealth...

— Liberal party election platform, autumn 1917, Canada

The Economist opposed capital levies, but supported "direct taxation heavy enough to amount to rationing of citizens' incomes". Rationing of goods was also widely used, with the aim of distributing scarce resources efficiently. Rationing was widely done with ration stamps, a second currency that entitled the bearer to buy (with regular money) a certain amount of a certain sort of good (for instance, two ounces of meat,[20] or a certain amount of clothing[21] or fuel). Price controls were also used (for instance, the price of restaurant meals was capped).[20]

In the post-war period, progressive taxation persisted. Inheritance taxes also had an effect. Rationing in the United Kingdom lasted until 1954. Allied war bonds matured during the post-war years, transferring cash from governments to private households.

In Japan, progressive tax rates were imposed during the Allied occupation, at rates that roughly matched those in the United States at that time. High marginal tax rates for the wealthiest 1% were in place throughout Japan's decades of post-war growth[22] South Korea, after the Korean War saw a similar trajectory. Marginal tax rates were high on the rich, until falling quickly in the 1990s. [23] The state also legislated significant land reform, cutting deeply into a landholding elite's power and clientelism.[24]

Low oil prices

Oil Prices Since 1861
The real oil price was low during the post-war decades, with this ending in the 1973 oil crisis.

In the 1940s, the price of oil was about $17, rising to just over $20 during the Korean War (1951–1953). During the Vietnam War (1950s – 1970s) the price of oil slowly declined to under $20. During the Arab oil embargo of 1973—the first oil shock—the price of oil rapidly rose to double in price.

International cooperation

Marshall Plan poster
Poster for the Marshall Plan

Among the causes can be mentioned the rapid normalization of political relations between former Axis powers and the western Allies. After the war, the major powers were determined not to repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression, some of which were ascribed to post–World War I policy errors. The Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe is most credited for reconciliation, though the immediate post-war situations was more complicated. In 1948 the Marshall Plan pumped over $12 billion to rebuild and modernize Western Europe. The European Coal and Steel Community formed the foundation of what was to become the European Union in later years.

Institutional arrangements

Institutional economists point to the international institutions established in the post-war period. Structurally, the victorious Allies established the United Nations and the Bretton Woods monetary system, international institutions designed to promote stability. This was achieved through a number of policies, including promoting free trade, instituting the Marshall Plan, and the use of Keynesian economics.

In the United States, the Employment Act of 1946 set the goals of achieving full employment, full production, and stable prices. It also created the Council of Economic Advisers to provide objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues. In its first 7 years the CEA made five technical advances in policy making:[25]

  1. The replacement of a "cyclical model" of the economy by a "growth model,"
  2. The setting of quantitative targets for the economy,
  3. Use of the theories of fiscal drag and full-employment budget,
  4. Recognition of the need for greater flexibility in taxation, and
  5. Replacement of the notion of unemployment as a structural problem by a realization of low aggregate demand.

Specific countries

The economies of the United States, Japan, West Germany, France, and Italy did particularly well. Japan and West Germany caught up to and exceeded the GDP of the United Kingdom during these years, even as the UK itself was experiencing the greatest absolute prosperity in its history. In France, this period is often looked back to with nostalgia as the Trente Glorieuses, or "Glorious Thirty", while the economies of West Germany and Austria were characterized by Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle), and in Italy it is called Miracolo economico (economic miracle). Most developing countries also did well in this period.


Belgium experienced a brief but very rapid economic recovery in the aftermath of World War II. The comparatively light damage sustained by Belgium's heavy industry during the German occupation and the Europe-wide need for the country's traditional exports (steel and coal, textiles, and railway infrastructure) meant that Belgium became the first European country to regain its pre-war level of output in 1947. Economic growth in the period was accompanied by low inflation and sharp increases in real living standards.

However, lack of capital investment meant that Belgium's heavy industry was ill-equipped to compete with other European industries in the 1950s. This contributed to the start of deindustrialisation in Wallonia and the emergence of regional economic disparities.


Between 1947 and 1973, France went through a boom period (5% growth per year on average) dubbed by Jean Fourastié Trente Glorieuses - the title of a book published in 1979. The economic growth occurred mainly due to productivity gains and to an increase in the number of working hours. Indeed, the working population grew very slowly, the "baby boom" being offset by the extension of the time dedicated to study. Productivity gains came from catching up with the United States. In 1950, the average income in France was 55% of that of an American; it reached 80% in 1973. Among the "major" nations, only Japan had faster growth in this era than France.[26]

The extended period of transformation and modernization also involved an increasing internationalization of the French economy. France by the 1980s had become a leading world economic power and the world's fourth-largest exporter of manufactured products. It became Europe's largest agricultural producer and exporter, accounting for more than 10 percent of world trade in such goods by the 1980s. The service sector grew rapidly and became the largest sector, generating a large foreign-trade surplus, chiefly from the earnings from tourism.[27]


The Italian economy experienced very variable growth. In the 1950s and early 1960s the Italian economy boomed, with record high growth-rates, including 6.4% in 1959, 5.8% in 1960, 6.8% in 1961, and 6.1% in 1962. This rapid and sustained growth was due to the ambitions of several Italian businesspeople, the opening of new industries (helped by the discovery of hydrocarbons, made for iron and steel, in the Po valley), re-construction and the modernisation of most Italian cities, such as Milan, Rome and Turin, and the aid given to the country after World War II (notably through the Marshall Plan).[28][29]


Sanyo Transistor
A transistor radio made by Sanyo in 1959. Japan manufactured much of the world's consumer electronics during this period.

After 1950 Japan's economy recovered from the war damage and began to boom, with the fastest growth rates in the world.[30] Given a boost by the Korean War, in which it acted as a major supplier to the UN force, Japan's economy embarked on a prolonged period of extremely rapid growth, led by the manufacturing sectors. Japan emerged as a significant power in many economic spheres, including steel working, car manufacturing and the manufacturing of electronics. Japan rapidly caught up with the West in foreign trade, GNP, and general quality of life. The high economic growth and political tranquility of the mid to late 1960s were slowed by the quadrupling of oil prices in 1973. Almost completely dependent on imports for petroleum, Japan experienced its first recession since World War II. Another serious problem was Japan's growing trade surplus, which reached record heights. The United States pressured Japan to remedy the imbalance, demanding that Tokyo raise the value of the yen and open its markets further to facilitate more imports from the United States.[31]

Soviet Union

In the 1950s the Soviet Union, having reconstructed the ruins left by the war, experienced a decade of prosperous, undisturbed, and rapid economic growth, with significant technological achievements most notably the first earth satellite. The nation ranked in the top 15 most prosperous countries. However, the growth slowed and ended by 1960, as the Khrushchev regime poured resources into large military and space projects, and the civilian sector languished. While every other major nation greatly expanded its service sector, that sector in the Soviet Union (medicine, for example) was given low priority.[32] Following Khrushchev's ouster, and the appointment of a collective leadership led by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin, the economy was revitalised.[33] The economy continued to grow apace during the mid-to-late 1960s, during the Eighth Five-Year Plan.[34] However, economic growth began to falter during the early to mid-1970s,[33] beginning the Era of Stagnation.


Sweden emerged almost unharmed from World War II, and experienced tremendous economic growth until the early 1970s, as Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlander held his office from 1946 to 1969. Sweden used to be a country of emigrants until the 1930s, but the demand for labor spurred immigration to Sweden, especially from Finland and countries like Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia. Urbanization was fast, and housing shortage in urban areas was imminent until the Million Programme was launched in the 1960s.

United Kingdom

Dette britannique longue période
The national debt of the United Kingdom was at a record high percentage of the GDP as the war ended, but was largely repaid by 1975.

A 1957 speech by UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan[35] captures what the golden age felt like, even before the brightest years which were to come in the 1960s.

Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good. Go round the country, go to the industrial towns, go to the farms and you will see a state of prosperity such as we have never had in my lifetime – nor indeed in the history of this country.

Unemployment figures[36] show that unemployment was significantly lower during the Golden Age than before or after:

Epoch Date range Percentage of British labour force unemployed.
Pre-Golden Age 1921–1938 13.4
Golden Age 1950–1969 1.6
Post-Golden Age 1970–1993 6.7

In addition to superior economic performance, other social indexes were higher in the golden age; for example the proportion of Britain's population saying they are "very happy" has fallen from 52% in 1957 to just 36% in 2005.[37][38]

United States

Quarterly gross domestic product

The period from the end of World War II to the early 1970s was one of the greatest eras of economic expansion in world history. In the US, Gross Domestic Product increased from $228 billion in 1945 to just under $1.7 trillion in 1975. By 1975, the US economy represented some 35% of the entire world industrial output, and the US economy was over 3 times larger than that of Japan, the next largest economy.[39]

$200 billion in war bonds matured, and the G.I. Bill financed a well-educated work force. The middle class swelled, as did GDP and productivity. The US underwent its own golden age of economic growth. This growth was distributed fairly evenly across the economic classes, which some attribute to the strength of labor unions in this period—labor union membership peaked during the 1950s. Much of the growth came from the movement of low-income farm workers into better-paying jobs in the towns and cities—a process largely completed by 1960.[40]

Libertarian historian Burton W. Folsom Jr. argues that under the leadership of Senator Walter George, Congress ended most economic controls, cut taxes, slashed spending, and expected entrepreneurs to create the jobs needed for the returning soldiers. The predicted postwar depression never happened and the economy grew rapidly as unemployment stabilized at 3.9 percent.[41][42]

West Germany

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F038788-0006, Wolfsburg, VW Autowerk, Käfer
Assembly of the Volkswagen Beetle in West Germany

West Germany, under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and economic minister Ludwig Ehrhard, saw prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s. Journalists dubbed it the Wirtschaftswunder or "Economic Miracle".[43] Industrial production doubled from 1950 to 1957, and gross national product grew at a rate of 9 or 10% per year, providing the engine for economic growth of all of Western Europe. Labor union's support of the new policies, postponed wage increases, minimized strikes, supported technological modernization, and a policy of co-determination (Mitbestimmung), which involved a satisfactory grievance resolution system and required the representation of workers on the boards of large corporations,[44] all contributed to such a prolonged economic growth. The recovery was accelerated by the currency reform of June 1948, US gifts of $1.4 billion Marshall Plan aid, the breaking down of old trade barriers and traditional practices, and the opening of the global market.[45] West Germany gained legitimacy and respect, as it shed the horrible reputation Germany had gained under the Nazis. West Germany played a central role in the creation of European cooperation; it joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1958.


Old Mods photo
The increased free time of adolescents caused the rise of youth subcultures such as Mods.

The post-war economic boom had many social, cultural, and political effects (not least of which was the demographic bulge termed the baby boom). Movements and phenomena associated with this period include the height of the Cold War, postmodernism, decolonisation, a marked increase in consumerism, the welfare state, the space race, the Non-Aligned Movement, import substitution, counterculture of the 1960s, opposition to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the sexual revolution, the beginning of second-wave feminism, and a nuclear arms race. In the United States, the middle-class began a mass migration away from the cities and towards the suburbs. Thus, it can be summed up as a period of prosperity in which most people could enjoy a job for life, a house and a family.

In the West, there emerged a near-complete consensus against strong ideology and a belief that technocratic and scientific solutions could be found to most of humanity's problems, a view advanced by US President John F. Kennedy in 1962. This optimism was symbolized through such events as the 1964 New York World's Fair, and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs, which aimed at eliminating poverty in the United States.

The post-war economic boom is often credited by scientists, economists and historians alike as being the tipping point in sending the planet down a path towards worldwide, catastrophic, human-caused environmental collapse, largely through the effects of global warming.


The sharp rise in oil prices (due to the 1973 oil crisis) hastened the transition to the post-industrial economy, and a multitude of social problems have since emerged. During the 1970s steel crisis, demand for steel declined, and the Western world faced competition from newly industrialized countries. This was especially harsh for mining and steel districts such as the North American Rust Belt and the West German Ruhr area.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Desai, Meghnad (2002). Marx's Revenge: The Resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism,. Verso. p. 216. ISBN 1-85984-429-4.
  5. ^ Ball, Terence; Bellamy, Richard Paul (2002). The Cambridge history of twentieth-century political thought. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 1-85984-429-4.
  6. ^ Middleton, Roger (2000). The British Economy Since 1945. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 3. ISBN 0-333-68483-4.
  7. ^ a b Skidelsky, Robert (2009). Keynes: The Return of the Master. Allen Lane. pp. 116, 126. ISBN 978-1-84614-258-1.
  8. ^ Marglin, Stephen A.; Schor, Juliet B. The Golden Age of Capitalism. Clarendon Press. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  9. ^ Wolf, Martin (2009). "3". Fixing Global Finance. Yale University Press. p. 31.
  10. ^ Field, Alexander J. (2011). A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth. New Haven, London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-15109-1.
  11. ^ Bjork, Gordon J. (1999). The Way It Worked and Why It Won't: Structural Change and the Slowdown of U.S. Economic Growth. Westport, CT; London: Praeger. pp. 2, 67. ISBN 0-275-96532-5.
  12. ^ Grübler, Arnulf (1990). The Rise and Fall of Infrastructures: Dynamics of Evolution and Technological Change in Transport (PDF). Heidelberg and New York: Physica-Verlag. p. 87<Fig. 3.1.5>
  13. ^ Yaffe, David; Bullock, Paul (1979). "Inflation, the Crisis and the Post-War Boom". Revolutionary Communist No. 3/4 (Second Edition), November 1979. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  14. ^ Panitch, Leo; Miliband, Ralph (1992). "The New World Order and the Socialist Agenda". The Socialist Register. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  15. ^ Klein, Naomi (2008). The Shock Doctrine. Penguin. p. 55.
  16. ^ "The cracks are showing". The Economist. June 26, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  17. ^ The Liquidation of Government Debt, Reinhart, Carmen M. & Sbrancia, M. Belen
  18. ^ "U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History, 1913–2011". Tax Foundation. 9 September 2011. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013.
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^
  22. ^ Moriguchi, Chiaki and Emmanual Saez. 2008. "THE EVOLUTION OF INCOME CONCENTRATION IN JAPAN, 1886 –2005: EVIDENCE FROM INCOME TAX STATISTICS," The Review of Economics and Statistics, November 2008, 90(4): 713–734,
  23. ^ Kim, Nak Nyeon and Jongil Kim. 2015. "TOP INCOMES IN KOREA, 1933-2010: EVIDENCE FROM INCOME TAX STATISTICS," HITOTSUBASHI JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS, Volume: 56 Issue: 1 Pages: 1-19.
  24. ^ You, Jon-Sung. 2017. "Demystifying the Park Chung-Hee Myth: Land Reform in the Evolution of Korea's Developmental State," JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY ASIA,Volume: 47(4): 535-556
  25. ^ Salant, Walter S. "Some Intellectual Contributions of the Truman Council of Economic Advisers to Policy-Making," History of Political Economy, 1973, Vol. 5 Issue 1, pp 36–49
  26. ^ P. Sicsic, and C. Wyplosz. "France: 1945-92." in Economic Growth in Europe since 1945, edited by N. Crafts and G. Toniolo. (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  27. ^ Andrea Boltho, "Economic Policy in France and Italy since the War: Different Stances, Different Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Issues 35#3 (2001) pp 713+ online
  28. ^ Vera Zamagni, Vera, The economic history of Italy 1860-1990 (Oxford University Press, 1993)
  29. ^ Giangiacomo Nardozzi, "The Italian" Economic Miracle". Rivista di storia economica (2003) 19$2 pp: 139-180, in English.
  30. ^ James L. McClain, Japan: A Modern History (2002) pp 562-98
  31. ^ Hans Brinckmann, and Ysbrand Rogge. Showa Japan: The Post-War Golden Age and Its Troubled Legacy (2008)
  32. ^ Gur Ofer, The service sector in Soviet economic growth (1973) p. 21 online
  33. ^ a b Sandle, Mark; Bacon, Edwin (2002). Brezhnev Reconsidered. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0-333-79463-0.
  34. ^ Brown, Archie (2009). The Rise & Fall of Communism. Bodley Head. p. 403. ISBN 978-1-84595-067-5.
  35. ^ "1957: Britons 'have never had it so good'". BBC. 1957-07-20. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  36. ^ Sloman, John (2004). Economics. Penguin. p. 811.
  37. ^ Mark Easton (2006-05-02). "Britain's happiness in decline". BBC. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  38. ^ Nigel Healey, ed., Britain's Economic Miracle: Myth or Reality? (1992) excerpt
  39. ^ Countries GDP 1975: GDP annual comparison,
  40. ^ French, Michael. US Economic History Since 1945 (1997)
  41. ^ Burton W. Folsom; Anita Folsom (2011). FDR Goes to War: How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America. Simon and Schuster. p. 311.
  42. ^ James Ciment (2015). Postwar America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. Routledge. p. 419.
  43. ^ Jurgen Weber, Germany, 1945-1990 (Central European University Press, 2004) pp. 37-60
  44. ^ Friedrich Fürstenberg, "West German Experience with Industrial Democracy," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 431, (May, 1977), pp. 44–53 in JSTOR
  45. ^ Detlef Junker, ed., The United States and Germany in the Era of the Cold War, 1945-1968 (Cambridge University Press, 2004) vol 1:291-309

Further reading

  • Boltho, Andrea, ed. The European Economy - Growth and Crisis (Oxford University Press, 1982)
  • Brinckmann, Hans, and Ysbrand Rogge. Showa Japan: The Post-War Golden Age and Its Troubled Legacy (2008)
  • Bullock, Paul and Yaffe, David [1975] Inflation, the Crisis and the Post-War Boom RC 3/4 November 1975, RCG
  • Crafts, N. and G. Toniolo, eds. Economic Growth in Europe since 1945 (Cambridge University Press, 1996)
  • Cairncross, Frances; Cairncross, Alec (1994), The Legacy of the Golden Age: 1960s and Their Economic Consequences, Routledge
  • Marglin, Stephen A.; Schor, Juliet B. (1992), The Golden Age of Capitalism: Reinterpreting the Postwar Experience, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-828741-4
  • Webber, Michael John; Rigby, David L. (1996), The golden age illusion: rethinking postwar capitalism
  • Yarrow, Andrew L. "The big postwar story: Abundance and the rise of economic journalism." Journalism History 32.2 (2006): 58+ online

The 1940s (pronounced "nineteen-forties" and commonly abbreviated as the "Forties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1940, and ended on December 31, 1949.

Most of World War II took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries and people in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the jostling spheres of influence of the Western world and the Soviet Union, leading to the beginning of the Cold War. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state, and the Bretton Woods system, facilitating the post–World War II economic expansion, which lasted well into the 1970s. However, the conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonization and the emergence of new states and governments, with India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam, and others declaring independence, although rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (such as computers, nuclear power, and jet propulsion), often first developed in tandem with the war effort, and later adapted and improved upon in the post-war era.

1973–75 recession

The 1973–75 recession or 1970s recession was a period of economic stagnation in much of the Western world during the 1970s, putting an end to the overall Post–World War II economic expansion. It differed from many previous recessions by being a stagflation, where high unemployment and high inflation existed simultaneously.

Age of Oil

The Age of Oil, also known as the Oil Age ,the Petroleum Age, ,or the Oil Boom, refers to the era in human history characterised by an increased use of petroleum in products and as fuel. Though unrefined petroleum has been used for various purposes since ancient times, it was during the 19th century that refinement techniques were developed and gasoline engines were created.

Although crude petroleum oil has been used for a variety of purposes for thousands of years, the Oil Age is considered to have started in the 1800s with the advance of drilling techniques, as well as the processing of products made use in internal combustion engines. Alternatively, the age of oil can be placed in the first period until the early 1900s, when oil consumption and combustion engines utilization increased. Contemporary industrial society is built largely on petroleum resources, but the future of the Oil Age has become increasingly controversial.

Cumberland Estates

Cumberland Estates is a residential neighborhood in the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, which gained national attention for architectural innovation and research housing in the mid-20th century. It began 2.1 miles outside the city limits, in Knox County, as one of many planned suburban neighborhoods in the post-World War II economic expansion. The development soon attracted an innovative young architect and national sponsors who would create new ways to rapidly and affordably fill the demand for residential housing needs for America’s growing population of families. Their prominent work in the neighborhood influenced the evolution of residential building design. While the attention received from the research homes waned last century, the neighborhood has maintained its residential character with few changes while avoiding commercial encroachment and blight.

Economic miracle

Economic miracle is an informal economic term commonly used to refer to a period of dramatic economic development that is entirely unexpected or unexpectedly strong. The term has been used to describe periods in the recent histories of a number of countries, often those undergoing an economic boom, or described as a tiger economy.

Functional finance

Functional finance is an economic theory proposed by Abba P. Lerner, based on effective demand principles and chartalism. It states that government should finance itself to meet explicit goals, such as taming the business cycle, achieving full employment, ensuring growth, and low inflation.

Hibiscus Island

Hibiscus Island is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach on a man-made island in Biscayne Bay, Florida, United States. Hibiscus Island lies just north of Palm Island. It is an exclusive residential neighborhood with relatively high property values. The island is accessible via the MacArthur Causeway.

Home appliance

Home appliances, also known as domestic appliances, are electrical machines which helps in household functions, such as cooking, cleaning or food preservation.

Home appliances can be divided into three classifications, which includes, small appliances, major appliances, or white goods and consumer electronics, or brown goods in the United Kingdom.The division is noticeable in the maintenance and repair of these kinds of products too. Brown goods usually require high technical knowledge and skills (which get more complex with time, such as going from a soldering iron to a hot-air soldering station), while white goods may need more practical skills and force to manipulate the devices and heavy tools required to repair them.

Italian economic miracle

The Italian economic miracle or the Italian economic boom (Italian: il miracolo economico, or boom economico) is the term used by historians, economists and the mass media to designate the prolonged period of strong economic growth in Italy after the Second World War from the 1950s to the late 1960s, and in particular the years from 1950 to 1963. This phase of Italian history represented not only a cornerstone in the economic and social development of the country—which was transformed from a poor, mainly rural, nation into a global industrial power—but also a period of momentous change in Italian society and culture. As summed up by one historian, by the end of the 1970s, "social security coverage had been made comprehensive and relatively generous. The material standard of living had vastly improved for the great majority of the population."

James Scully (poet)

James Scully (born 1937, New Haven, Connecticut) is an American poet.

Late capitalism

Late capitalism is a term coined by continental Europe socialists in the late 1930s that has come to refer to modern capitalism from World War II onward. Since 2016, the term has been used in the United States to refer to absurdities, crises, injustices, and inequality created by modern business development.

Later capitalism refers to the historical epoch since 1940, including the Post–World War II economic expansion called the golden age of capitalism. The expression already existed for a long time in continental Europe, before it gained currency in the English-speaking world through the English translation of Ernest Mandel's book Late Capitalism, published in 1975.

The German original edition of Mandel's work was subtitled "an attempt at an explanation", meaning that Mandel tried to provide an orthodox Marxist explanation of the post-war epoch in terms of Marx's theory of capitalism. The French edition of the same work was titled "the third age of capitalism". Mandels' suggestion was, that (1) important qualitative changes occurred within the capitalist system during and after World War 2, (2) that there are limits to capitalist development, and (3) that capitalism is not everlasting.

Long boom

Long boom refers to various periods of economic growth, most commonly:

The post–World War II economic expansion

The 1990s United States boom

The mid 1980s–2000s period, contemporary with the Great Moderation

Norwegian of the Century

Norwegian of the Century (Norwegian: Århundrets nordmann) was a poll carried out by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005, the 100-year anniversary of Norwegian independence. The poll was SMS-based and over 400,000 Norwegians voted over the course of the year. To qualify as "Norwegian of the Century", the nominee must have lived between 1905 and 2005. All Norwegians were eligible for nomination, and there were initially 600 people on the list. A "Great Norwegian Committee" (Store Norske komiteen) consisting of Nils Arne Eggen, Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg, Guri Hjeltnes, Harald Norvik, Erling Sandmo and Cathrine Sandnes narrowed the list down to 50. Another poll was conducted, again SMS-based, with the results presented live on NRK1 on 17 December 2005. The winner, with 41% of the vote, was King Olav V. Former Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen was second with 24%, followed by Erik Bye with 15%. The results for the top 50 spots were as follows:

Olav V (1903–1991) - King of Norway (21 September 1957 – 17 January 1991)

Einar Gerhardsen (1897–1987) - politician and Prime Minister of Norway (1945–1951, 1955–1963, 1963–1965)

Erik Bye (1926–2004) - Norwegian journalist, artist, author, film actor, folk singer and radio and television personality

Kim Friele (1935–) - gay rights and human rights activist

Thor Heyerdahl (1914–2002) - ethnographer, led Kon-Tiki expedition

Mari Boine (1956–) - Norwegian Sami musician

Gro Harlem Brundtland (1939–) - politician and 22nd Prime Minister of Norway (1981, 1986–1989, 1990–1996)

Haakon VII (1872–1957) - King of Norway (18 November 1905 − 21 September 1957)

Christian Michelsen (1857–1925) - shipping magnate, statesman, and 1st Prime Minister of Norway (1905–1907)

Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) - explorer, diplomat, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Ivar Asbjørn Følling (1888–1973) - physicist and biochemist known for describing the disease commonly known as Følling's disease or phenylketonuria

Grete Waitz (1953–2011) - marathon runner, first woman to run a marathon in under two and a half hours

Alf Prøysen (1914–1970) - author, poet, playwright and musician

Helge Ingstad (1899–2001) and Anne Stine Ingstad (1918–1997) - archaeologists and explorers of Viking (Norsemen|Norse) settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in 1960

Anne-Cath. Vestly (1920–2008) - author of children’s literature

Gunnar Sønsteby (1918–2012) - member of the Norwegian resistance movement during the German occupation of Norway in World War II.

Knut Hamsun (1859–1952) - writer, laureate of Nobel Prize

Kjell Aukrust (1920–2002) - poet

Eivind Berggrav (1884–1959) - Lutheran bishop, figure in resistance against German occupation of Norway

Kirsten Flagstad (1859–1962) - opera singer and dramatic soprano

Ole Gunnar Solskjær (1973–) - football player and manager

Hjalmar Andersen (1923–2013) - speed skater, won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympic Games held in Oslo, Norway

Edvard Munch (1863–1944) - painter and print-maker, best known for painting The Scream

Bjørn Dæhlie (1967–) - Norwegian businessman and retired cross–country skier, won a total of 29 medals in the Olympics and World Championships from 1991 and 1999

Carl Joachim Hambro (1885–1964) - journalist, author and politician

Katti Anker Møller (1868–1945) - feminist, children's rights advocate, reproductive rights activist

Kristian Ottosen (1921–2006) - non–fiction writer and public servant

Rosemarie Köhn (1939–) - bishop in the Diocese of Hamar of the Church of Norway

Bjørn Wirkola (1943–) - ski jumper

Sam Eyde (1866–1940) - engineer and industrialist

Olav Selvaag (1912–2002) - residential contractor, responsible for innovative design for building affordable housing in Post–World War II economic expansion

Arne Arnardo (1912–1995) - circus performer, generally known as the "circus king" of Norway

Karl Evang (1902–1981) - physician and civil servant

Thorbjørn Egner (1912–1990) - playwright and songwriter for children

Halldis Moren Vesaas (1907–1995) - poet for children

Jan Garbarek (1947–) - jazz saxophonist

Finn Lied (1916–2014) - military researcher and politician

Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) - novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature

Wenche Foss (1917–2011) - actress of stage, screen, and television

Erling Stordahl (1923–1994) - farmer and singer

Oscar Mathisen (1888–1954) - speed skater

Sonja Henie (1912–1969) - figure skater and film star

Arne Nordheim (1931–2010) - composer

Trygve Lie (1896–1968) - politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway) (1940-1946) and 1st Secretary-General of the United Nations (1946-1952)

Inger Hagerup (1905–1985) -poet of 20th century

Johs Andenæs (1912–2003) - jurist

Liv Ullmann (1938–) - actress and film director

Ragnar Frisch (1895–1973) - economist, being one of the founders of the discipline of econometrics, and for coining the widely used term pair macroeconomics/microeconomics in 1933; awarded Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1968

Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) - sculptor

Francis Bull (1887–1974) - literary historian

Record years

The record years (Swedish: Rekordåren) is a period in the economy of Sweden, dating from the international post–World War II economic expansion to the 1973 oil crisis, and largely coinciding with the mandates of prime ministers Tage Erlander and earliest years of Olof Palme. The concept was originally a satirical left-wing description of the years 1968-70.

Sweden had maintained neutrality during both world wars, and entered the post-war boom with industrial and demographic advantages. Sweden also received aid from the Marshall Plan. Between 1947 and 1974, the Swedish economy grew at an average rate of 12.5% annually. The urban population, living in towns of over 15,000 people, grew from 38% of the total population in 1931 to 74% by 1973. Sustained by an export boom of automobiles, heavy machinery, electronics, ship-building, and heavy weapons, the per capita income increased by as much as 2000%. Sweden had successfully moved into the high-income group of countries by 1955-56.

Residential area

A residential area is a land used in which housing predominates, as opposed to industrial and commercial areas.

Housing may vary significantly between, and through, residential areas. These include single-family housing, multi-family residential, or mobile homes. Zoning for residential use may permit some services or work opportunities or may totally exclude business and industry. It may permit high density land use or only permit low density uses. Residential zoning usually includes a smaller FAR (floor area ratio) than business, commercial or industrial/manufacturing zoning. The area may be large or small.

Roaring 1980s

The Roaring 1980s (Swedish: Glada 1980-talet) is the name of the economic boom in Sweden during the mid-late 1980s.

Steel crisis

The steel crisis was a recession in the global steel market during the 1973–75 recession and early 1980s recession following the post–World War II economic expansion and the 1973 oil crisis, further compounded by the 1979 oil crisis, and lasted well into the 1980s.

Steel prices dropped significantly as the market became saturated with steel from previous demand, and many steel mills in the Western world were driven out of business. Some areas affected by the steel crisis were the Rust belt in North America, the English Midlands in the United Kingdom, the Ruhr area in West Germany and Bergslagen in Sweden.

Tage Erlander

Tage Fritjof Erlander (Swedish: [²tɑːgɛ ɛˈɭanːdɛr] (listen); 13 June 1901 – 21 June 1985) was a Swedish politician who served as Prime Minister of Sweden from 1946 to 1969. He was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and led the government for an uninterrupted tenure of 23 years, one of the longest in any democracy. This led to Erlander being known as "Sweden's longest Prime Minister" referring to both his physical stature – 192 cm, or 6 feet and 3.5 inches – and tenure (the Swedish word lång meaning both long and tall).Ascending to the World War II coalition government in 1944, Erlander rose unexpectedly to leadership upon the death of Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson in October 1946, maintaining the position of the Social Democratic Party as the dominant party in the country. Known for his moderation, pragmatism and self-irony, Erlander often sought approval from the liberal-conservative opposition for his policies, de facto dropping all pretences of wide-scale nationalizations whilst introducing reforms such as universal health insurance, pension additions and a growing public sector while stopping short of raising tax levels above the average OECD levels at the time. Until the 1960s, income taxes were lower in Sweden than in the United States.For most of his time in power, Erlander ran a minority government of the Social Democrats. From 1951 to 1957, he instead ran a coalition with the Farmers' League. The Social Democrats held a majority of seats in the upper house for most of this time and this allowed Erlander to remain in power after the 1956 general election, when the right-wing parties won a majority. A snap election in 1958 then reversed this result.

In foreign policy, he initially sought an alliance of Nordic countries, but without success, instead maintaining strict neutrality while building up among the most impressive armed forces in the world (surpassed only by the United States, the Soviet Union and Israel in terms of per-capita spending), making the Swedish Air Force the third largest in the world, while ultimately rejecting nuclear capability, signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1968. Erlander's mandate coincided with the post–World War II economic expansion, in Sweden known as the record years, in which Sweden saw its economy grow to one of the ten strongest in the world, and subsequently joined the G10.

In the 1968 general election, he won his seventh and most successful victory, with the Social Democrats winning an absolute majority of the popular vote and seats in the lower chamber. Erlander resigned the following year during a process of major constitutional reform and was succeeded by his long-time protégé and friend Olof Palme.

Ventura, California

Ventura, officially the City of San Buenaventura, is the county seat of Ventura County, California, United States. The coastal site, set against undeveloped hills and flanked by two free-flowing rivers, has been inhabited for thousands of years. European explorers encountered a Chumash village, referred to as Shisholop, here while traveling along the Pacific coast. They witnessed the ocean navigation skill of the native people and their use of the abundant local resources from sea and land. The eponymous Mission San Buenaventura was founded nearby in 1782 where it benefitted from the water of the Ventura River. The town grew around the mission compound and incorporated in 1866. The development of nearby oil fields in the 1920s and the age of automobile travel created a major real estate boom during which many designated landmark buildings were constructed. The mission and these buildings are at the center of a downtown that has become a cultural, retail, and residential district and visitor destination.

Ventura lies between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara along U.S. Route 101, which was one of the original U.S. Routes. The highway is now known as the Ventura Freeway, but the original route through the town along Main Street has been designated El Camino Real, the historic pathway connecting the California missions. During the post–World War II economic expansion, the community grew easterly, building detached single-family homes over the rich agricultural land created by the Santa Clara River at the edge of the Oxnard Plain. The population was 106,433 at the 2010 census, up from 100,916 at the 2000 census with the median age being 39. Ventura is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also

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