Michael at Two Blowhards rues that he's a member of the generation that came of age in the 1970s. This generation of would-be flower children was stripped of illusions by hangovers and an economy that was the worst of the last half century. Here are a few facts from Michael's list:
There was a dramatic productivity and wage growth slowdown. From WWII until 1973, wage and productivity growth averaged 2.8% per year. After '73, it averaged between .5% and 1%.
During the '70s, there were not just one but two major recessions.
Detroit produced its most awful cars ever, got whipsawed by the oil shock, and lost a huge amount of market share to Japan.
...in the '70s, unemploment and inflation rose together ... By the early 1980s, inflation and unemployment were both over 10%.
Nixon -- a conservative Republican -- imposed price controls.
The country was full of angry, political women; divorce became much more common.
Cities continued to crumble. In 1975, New York City declared bankruptcy. (A personal note: I moved to the city in the late '70s. The place was in terrible shape. It had a "Blade Runner"-ish, eve-of-destruction glamor that could thrill a young person. But it was clear even to idiot me that respectable people and money were fleeing the city. And for good reason: I remember one garbage strike when trash was piled waist-high along the curb for entire blocks. Crime and poverty were awful. In my first five years here, I was attacked, I was mugged, and I was pickpocketed twice.)
There was serious talk around about how the country simply had no choice but to accept a third-rate status. America's time was said to be past.
Stephen at Cold Spring Shops finds other aspects of Michael's presentation interesting, as do I. There are plenty of thoughtful muses at Two Blowhards' page.