THE LIBERAL CONSENSUS: 1945-1968

    The period between 1945 and 1968 saw the first stage of United States global hegemony and domestic affluence. This status was achieved largely because of participation in the Allied victory in World War II, the massive strength of the U.S. economy in 1945, in contrast to the rest of the world, and the possession of the atomic bomb. That post-war period was characterized by the rapid expansion of U.S. state and corporate economic interests throughout the capitalist world and continued economic growth. Furthermore, the United States represented approximately 4% of the world's population, but controlled over 50% of the world's resources. Explicated, U.S. policy-makers had the luxury to make political decisions while commanding an expanding economy and were faced with very few international constraints. This meant Washington had access to enough resources to facilitate large profits for corporations, promote a "full employment" economy (considered to be no less than 3% unemployment) with high-wages, and expand military and social spending (guns and butter).
    
     There was also an attitude prevalent in the late 1950's and the first half of the 1960's, owing to the power the U.S. enjoyed, that the state could afford reform, thus allowing it to incorporate (or co-opt) disenfranchised groups without significant social upheaval. In 1945, the U.S. also assumed the role of global policeman to protect the overall interests of world capitalism. This was implemented through anti-communist policies (and rhetoric) which aimed to isolate the Soviet Union and prevent social revolutions in the Third World. This animation displays the ideological strains situated along the liberal spectrum in America between 1945-1968.



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