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it was rather the leverage available to those who understood what was going on
because they were demanded by the first generation of so many thousands of families using the GI bill to become educated enough (especially in history!!) to be able to understand the forces behind the facades, causes behind effects, and thus become empowered to candidate themselves, become more activist in demanding rights.
there was a quid pro quo, as many had died in a WW that did not directly threaten america, the american public was not that keen on going over in droves to sort out europe's thanatic urges with their kids' blood.
those who survived and entered through that portal to a system which had hitherto remained too closed to access for the ordinary joe blow. this was probably the period, the great compression as you aptly name it, when there was a greater majority of working- and lower middle class with experience of other cultures through travel, eyes wide open with respect to the now great number of americans who are disinterested in the world beyond their nation's borders.
they had civics classes back then, more pride in democracy, and the post-war boom was about to shower all the modern conveniences of suburban life, gas at 10c. a gallon, brand new roads leading out to everywhere the trains didn't reach, home markets expanding, incomes outpacing inflation, opportunities everywhere, even for minorities, who made much progress educationally and economically, even before their basic rights were legally enshrined and segregation banished.
everyone loved capitalism on the way up hubbert's curve, enough to be happily incurious as to what had caused the crash before the wartime keynesianism had saved them.
this is the mythic golden age conservatives harken back to, and feel betrayed at losing. the crunch of their titanic sense of entitlement onto the bergs of reality makes them bitter and ready to lash out at phantom demons like 'liberals', gays, anything different than their chosen set of narrow canons that reigned so effortlessly those years.
nostalgia is a powerful thing... the ex-slave-owning class is barely getting over abolition.
that happy incuriosity is changing, now strange smells and sounds are coming from under the hood, more folks are getting curious as to what the engine of the economy really runs on. it's shocking to think that rackets like deathware, the military and security are such a big part of the 'job market'. deathware including big ag and big pharma, tbtf banking and those financial weapons of mass destruction that then justify austerity measures.
i don't think they want to kill the consumer economy, but they're stuck with the lack of vision to see beyond the resource crunch, so conditioned are they to waste and growth, slash and burn, boom and bust.
all to vainly clutch onto a reality that is slipping through their fingers anyway...
there will be a window, as the world pseudo-economy crashes, for new ideas to take root and thrive. that moment may be very soon. the better we understand why the old way went south, the better we will navigate it, and possibly aid in the creation of something better out of its ashes.
the ultimate irony is that it might take a world economic crash to save us from the effects of runaway climate change...
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
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