American Capitalism 1945-2000 ( The American Ways Series): Continuity and Change from Mass Production to the Information Society

Overview

The record of the American economy since 1945 offers an embarrassment of riches for the historian, and Wyatt Wells has brought them together in a compact and incisive history. His theme is how greatly many economic circumstances changed—and how many other features remained essentially the same. He shows how throughout the period the United States enjoyed not only the world's largest economy but by most measures its most diverse and sophisticated. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed extraordinary ...

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Overview

The record of the American economy since 1945 offers an embarrassment of riches for the historian, and Wyatt Wells has brought them together in a compact and incisive history. His theme is how greatly many economic circumstances changed—and how many other features remained essentially the same. He shows how throughout the period the United States enjoyed not only the world's largest economy but by most measures its most diverse and sophisticated. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed extraordinary change: the development of entirely new industries, such as television and computers; the decline of established industries, such as steel and textiles; the impact of international trade and competition on growing numbers of Americans. As the boom of the 1950s and 1960s gave way to "stagflation" in the 1970s, the 1980s became a time of extensive reorganization, which in turn laid the foundation for another boom in the 1990s. Still, as Mr. Wells notes, industry remained in private hands; political debate consistently returned to the same issues involving the proper role of government in the economy; and the country remained committed to an open international economic system. American Capitalism examines the development of economic policy (government spending, taxes, regulation, and monetary policy), economic structure (companies, markets, technology, and labor), and ideas about both, explaining the complex interaction of these factors over the past half-century. The book offers an essential short course on American economic development over these years.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Wells does what he sets out to do. . . . This book is very accessible, with arguments laid out in clear temporal sequence with minimal academic jargon.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
People wanting a good read that well describes the essence of the important changes in the American economy and gives a good 'feel' of America's changing role in the world will find this an excellent choice.
Journal of Economic Literature
Provides a concise overview of American economic development from 1945 to 2000.
Iwan Morgan
A lucid, highly informative, and wide-ranging analysis . . . valuable . . . balanced.
Gene Smiley
A concise presentation . . . should become a standard.
William E. Leuchtenburg
Concise, swiftly paced . . . stimulating and enlightening, but also reassuring.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
People wanting a good read that well describes the essence of the important changes in the American economy and gives a good 'feel' of America's changing role in the world will find this an excellent choice.
Eh.Net
People wanting a good read that well describes the essence of the important changes in the American economy and gives a good 'feel' of America's changing role in the world will find this an excellent choice.
Choice
Wells does what he sets out to do. . . . This book is very accessible, with arguments laid out in clear temporal sequence with minimal academic jargon.
Journal Of Economic Literature
Provides a concise overview of American economic development from 1945 to 2000.
Midwest Book Review
An intriguing survey. . . . An essential key.
Journal of Economic Literature
Provides a consice overview of American economic development from 1945 to 2000...
Library Journal
Wells (history, Auburn Univ.; Economist in an Uncertain World) contributes to the "American Way" series of concise, nontechnical volumes on popular topics in American history with this narrative of the post-World War II U.S. economy. He steers an energetic course through a half-century of monetarist vs. Keynesian policies and regulation vs. deregulation, showing how each President grappled with monetary policy, government spending, taxes and labor, and his predecessor's legacy. Learning which economists' voices won out and how sound their predictions and policies proved is the economist's version of court intrigue. The contrasting philosophies of Truman and Eisenhower, Johnson's Great Society, and the flip-flopping policies of the Carter years all make interesting reading. Instead of reaching any dramatic conclusions, this easy read serves as a crash course for the undergraduate and the uninitiated alike. Appropriate for public and academic libraries.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566635387
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Series: American Ways Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Wyatt Wells is distinguished research associate professor of history at Auburn University, Montgomery. His other books include Antitrust and the Formation of the Postwar World and Economist in an Uncertain World. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Paradox of American Capitalism 3
1 The Postwar Boom 5
2 The Go-Go Economy 53
3 The Great Stagflation 84
4 Adjusting to New Realities 122
5 The "New Economy" 164
6 The Ways of Wealth 192
A Note on Sources 197
Index 201
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