The Legacy of the Golden Age: The 1960s and Their Economic Consequences


From the perspective of the 1990s, the 1960s seem to have been a golden age for economics. National income was growing even faster than in the 1950s, unemployment remained at about 2% of the labor force, and inflation was at 4% for most of the decade. The long boom that had begun at the end of World War II and was to continue until the oil crisis of 1973 was at its peak. Economic success was the backdrop to a number of economic and social experiments, including the founding of many new universities in the United Kingdom and the first attempts to join the European Community. In this study, a uniquely qualified team of economists and policy-makers examine the economic experience of the 1960s. They examine the conditions which enabled the boom to last for such a long time, and the factors which finally brought it to an end. The decade of the 1960s was rich in policy experiments--many that tried to curb inflation, and others that aimed to increase productivity. In retrospect, neither strategy proved tobe successful, and the late sixties were marked by the rising inflation and falling productivity that were to persist throughout the seventies. The economic problems that emerged are still on the agenda, and this book concludes by assessing the extent to which policy mistakes of the sixties were responsible for these conflicts.

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