In recent years a different interest has been dominant each decade in the economic thinking of the general public and, consequently, in the consideration of the professional economists and other social scientists. In the 'twenties the theme of a return to normalcy and a never-to-be-ended prosperity had the field pretty much to itself. This ended abruptly with the onset of the Great Depression and the problem of security became the paramount interest. Legislative enactments designed to making people more secure--the Social Security Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, federal insurance of bank deposits, changes in the Federal Reserve system, the Securities and Exchange Act, and others--increasing prosperity, and the onset of the war made this problem recede although it never disappeared. The fear that unemployment would follow the war, and the example the war gave of the manner by which full employment could be created by government spending led people's attention to means of maintaining and securing full employment. Although the interest in full employment persists, it is increasingly felt that full employment in itself is not enough and that we can and will have more goods and services along with full employment, and, indeed, that full employment may not be able to be maintained unless the economy continually grows. Thus, in the 'fifties, attention was turned to the problems of economic growth.
Legislatures--and economists--naturally turned their attention to these problems. Although no one would be so rash as to say that we have solved any one of them, considerable progress has been made. Life is still hazardous for the worker and the investor but not to the same extent as before the 'thirties. The employer may be less secure because of government intervention and thus becomes an exception to this trend toward security. But through larger size, combinations, advertising, and government full-employment policies, even employers as a class may be more secure. Since the war, full employment has been maintained, with a few deviations, although it would be greatly disputed that government policies were responsible for this. The big questions in people's minds today are: Can we continue to grow and