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The Age of Extremes: 1914-1991. EHobsbawm (1995) (p. 408)

August 3, 2013

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“This was not immediately obvious, because – as usual – most politicians, economists and businessmen failed to recognize the permanence of the shift in the economic conjuncture. The policies of most governments in the 1970s, and the politics of most states, assumed that the troubles of the 1970s were only temporary. A year or two would bring a return to the old prosperity and the old growth. There was no need to change the policies that had served so well for a generation. Essentially the story of that decade was one of governments buying time – in the case of third world and socialist states often by going heavily into what they hoped was short-term debt – and applying the old recipes of Keynesian economic management. As it happened, in most advanced capitalist countries social-democratic governments were in office in much of the 1970s, or returned to office after unsuccessful conservative interludes (as in Britain in 1974 and the USA in 1976). These were not likely to abandon the policies of the Golden Age.”

[op. cit., p. 408]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

Twenty years later, it seems that a lot of politicians keep on, not understanding the simple truth Hobsbawm so masterfully exposes in this passage of the book …

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