The postwar years are the epitome of the “American Century”. The US came out of the war as the undisputed world leader, at least on this side of the Iron Curtain, and a sense of self-confidence and optimism was widespread. The journalist Walter Lippmann wrote that “this country and the Western World had had all the dynamism, all the innovation, all the crusading that human nature can take”.1 This attitude rested on solid economic performance, particularly strong in the 1950s and 1960s, when GDP increased, respectively, by 40.6 per cent and 50.5 per cent, less in the 1970s (+37.3 per cent). In 30 years, only minor, shallow contractions occurred, in 1954, 1958 and 1974– 1975 – in connection with the oil crisis – and in 1980.2 The national system was built around two responsibilities assumed by the government during the New Deal and the Second World War: Social Security and a permanently large military establishment.3


Central Bank Mutual Fund Commercial Bank Credit Union Real Estate Investment Trust 
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© Alessandro Roselli 2012

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  • Alessandro Roselli

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