- U.S. businesses spend $5.7 billion on computers.
- Advertisers spent $3.6 billion on television commercials.
- On January 1, U.S. consumer debt is $127 billion.
- On January 1, Americans own 89 million cars.
- On January 14, the U.S. Department of Justice indicts seven firms for polluting the New York harbor.
- On January 19, inflation reaches 6.1 percent, the highest since the Korean War (1950–1953).
- On January 28, Ford, Nissan, and Tokyo Kogyo form a joint venture to manufacture auto transmissions.
- On February 28, the January economic indicators fall by 1.8 percent, the worst monthly decline since the 1957 recession.
- On March 1, Westinghouse and four unions reach a contract raising wages 15 percent.
- On March 25, the first postal workers' strike in U.S. history ends after seven days.
- On April 1, Congress bans cigarette advertising on radio and television, beginning January 1, 1971.
- On April 15, Congress raises federal employees' wages 6 percent.
- On April 21, Congress allocates $4.6 billion for highway construction.
- On April 28, the Dow-Jones average falls to 724.33, the lowest since the November 1963...
(The entire section is 3278 words.)
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"Franchising's Troubled Dream World"
By: Charles G. Burck
Date: March 1970
Source: Burck, Charles G. "Franchising's Troubled Dream World." Fortune, March 1970, 116, 118, 121, 148, 152.
About the Author: Charles G. Burck is a successful writer and editor. He has written for Fortune and serves on the magazine's Board of Editors.
Americans have always held both small business and the small-business owner in the highest regard. While citizens of the United States often display a healthy distrust of government and of big corporations that seem to dwarf the individual, small business appears to be the ideal societal counterweight for redressing the balance of power in favor of ordinary people. The small-scale entrepreneur (whether merchant, manufacturer, or service provider) frequently functions as the veritable backbone of the community. Not beholden to any distant authority, the small businessman or woman with deeply embedded roots in the community often exhibits a longstanding loyalty to the area. As the old saying goes, "the little guy," who often sponsors local charities, joins service clubs, or runs for city council, "is one of us." As such, that business owner can be more easily trusted than a larger and geographically remote...
(The entire section is 2688 words.)
"World Trade in the 1970s"
By: AFL-CIO Economic Policy Committee
Date: May 1970
Source: AFL-CIO Economic Policy Committee. "World Trade in the 1970s." American Federationist, May 1970, 9, 10, 11–12, 13, 15.
About the Organization: The AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations) Economic Policy Committee was charged by the national AFL-CIO to prepare a report on the impact of the growing, global, free-trade movement on American organized labor. This report was published in May 1970.
Tariffs and import/export taxes—second only to slavery—were the most divisive political issues in American politics during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The United States has used tariffs as a tool of economic policy throughout its history, both in order to raise money for the government and to encourage the sale and purchase of American products. Other countries have similar tariffs, and U.S. foreign trade policy has tried to strike a balance between properly protecting and overprotecting U.S. industries—weighing the effects of free-market competition with its impact on the U.S. economy and jobs. Deciding what industries will receive special protection and what tariff rate will apply to each has...
(The entire section is 2122 words.)
"More Companies Hire Workers They Once Spurned—The Elderly"
By: Bill Paul
Date: November 2, 1970
Source: Paul, Bill. "More Companies Hire Workers They Once Spurned—The Elderly." Wall Street Journal, November 2, 1970, 1, 18.
About the Author: Bill Paul wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which is published by Dow Jones & Company. The Wall Street Journal first began publication in the United States in 1889, and has since gone on to become a successful newspaper with a wide readership and several global editions. Dow Jones & Company also publishes Barron's and the Far Eastern Economic Review.
Both life expectancy and perceptions about retirement have changed dramatically in the United States since 1900. Americans are living twenty-nine years longer on average, and the transition to a "knowledge economy"—no longer requiring as much hard physical labor as in the past—has enabled post-retirement age employees to remain active participants in the workforce. The 1970s saw the beginning of this trend in employment, as the cultural assumption that one stops working at sixty-five came to be challenged.
During the 1970s, major corporations needed employees for two distinct types of jobs: first,...
(The entire section is 2412 words.)
"The Surge of Public Employee Unionism"
By: David L. Perlman
Date: June 1971
Source: Perlman, David L. "The Surge of Public Employee Unionism." American Federationist, June 1971, 1, 2, 3–4, 5.
About the Publication: The American Federationist is a pro-labor journal published by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of over 60 international labor organizations that work to advance, promote, and protect the interests of workers in the economy.
When the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) merged to form the AFL-CIO in 1955, the American labor movement achieved its highest point in membership in U.S. history: Roughly thirty-five percent of the non-agricultural work force were union members. In subsequent years, the nature of U.S. labor changed in two significant ways: By the middle of the 1950s, the majority of the American labor force was already migrating from blue-collar to white-collar employment. At the same time, union membership was beginning to shift from private firms to the public sector
During the postwar years, industrial blue-collar jobs shrank in number, while...
(The entire section is 1917 words.)
"The Post Freeze-Economic Stabilization Program"
By: John B. Connally
Date: October 8, 1971
Source: Connally, John B. "The Post Freeze-Economic Stabilization Program." Transcript of Press Conference, October 8, 1971, Washington, D.C., 2–4, 4–5, 5–6, 6–7, 8–9, 11, 12–13, 15–16, 19–20, 22–24, 26–27.
About the Author: John Bowden Connally, Jr. (1917–1993), legendary Texas governor, served from 1963 to 1969. He is perhaps best known for being wounded during Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination of President John F. Kennedy (served 1961–1963) in 1963. Connally survived his wounds to become President Richard M. Nixon's (served 1969–1974) secretary of the treasury. In a highly publicized political maneuver, Connally switched parties from the Democratic to the Republican Party in 1973.
Wars demand sacrifice—not just from the soldier in the field who places his life and limb in jeopardy—but also from the citizens back home. They are called upon to do without in many ways, including rationing scarce items deemed necessary for the war effort, managing with shortages of many normally available peacetime goods, and being faced with higher consumer prices, higher taxes, and the pressure to invest savings in government war bonds. All in all, these...
(The entire section is 3326 words.)
"H. Ross Perot: America's First Welfare Billionaire"
By: Robert Fitch
Date: November 1971
Source: Fitch, Robert. "H. Ross Perot: America's First Welfare Billionaire." Ramparts, November 1971, 43–44, 44–45, 53.
About the Author: Robert Fitch (1938–), a veteran journalist, lecturer, and faculty member at New York University, specializes in the problems of urban America. Fitch authored the well-known 1993 exposé, The Assassination of New York, chronicling in agonizing detail the half-century-long economic, social, political, and cultural decline of the United States' largest city.
Private businessmen have often made money over the centuries by furnishing goods and services or by lending money to governments—sometimes for purposes of waging war. Historians note, for instance, that private contractors with inside political and family connections sold supplies to the Roman Imperial armies. In more modern times, financiers like the legendary Rothschilds often bankrolled imperialistic kings, princes, and an occasional prime minister. In the contemporary world, the arms industries make their profits by servicing the peacekeeping, war-making state. Indeed, these defense contractors have been dubbed the "Merchants of Death," and, as such, have come...
(The entire section is 3003 words.)
"The Doctrine of Multinational Sell"
By: Robert Scheer
Date: April 1975
Source: Scheer, Robert. "The Doctrine of Multinational Sell." Esquire, April 1975, 124, 126, 127, 160, 162.
About the Author: Robert Scheer (1936–) is one of the nation's outstanding progressive journalists. Born in New York City, Scheer attended City College, Syracuse, and the University of California-Berkeley. During the 1960s, he served as editor of the highly regarded literary/current affairs magazine, Ramparts. Along the way, Scheer has been a foreign correspondent and authored several books on American foreign policy. He writes a syndicated newspaper column and appears as a regular commentator on various radio talk shows.
The term "Cola Wars" refers to the fierce competition over the past century between cola manufacturers Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Dr. John Pemberton created Coca-Cola in 1886, and Caleb Bradham created Pepsi in 1898. Coca-Cola (or Coke) became instantly popular, and the company was the leading soda pop manufacturer throughout the twentieth century. Pepsi survived two early bankruptcies only to achieve wide success during the Great Depression by offering twice as much soda for a reduced price. The growth of these two companies provides insight...
(The entire section is 2436 words.)
"When Cities Turn to Private Firms for Help"
By: U.S. News & World Report
Date: August 16, 1976
Source: "When Cities Turn to Private Firms for Help," U.S. News & World Report, August 16, 1976, 35–37.
About the Publication: U.S. News & World Report began as the 1948 merger of two weekly magazines, United States News and World Report. The magazine is read by 11.2 million American adult readers every week. U.S. News & World Report is headquartered in New York City.
Efforts to privatize government services—saving taxpayer money by contracting out services to private business rather than relying on government workers—has a long history in the United States. The practice allows governments to hire private contractors to perform specific public services, almost invariably at a reduced cost. Another advantage is that instead of carrying workers on a permanent public payroll, the government can use contract labor on an "as-needed" basis. In addition, private companies usually have more flexibility than the government enjoys to employ whomever they choose and to select employees on merit rather than on criteria unrelated to the demands of the job.
Privatization offers a real...
(The entire section is 2140 words.)
Looking Out for Number One
By: Robert J. Ringer
Source: Ringer, Robert J. Looking Out for Number One. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Los Angeles Book Corporation, 1977, ix, x, 1–2, 2, 5–6, 7, 9–11, 79, 117, 205, 207–208, 209, 216–217.
About the Author: Robert J. Ringer was an executive in the record and film industries. In 1973, Ringer found himself deep in debt. He self-published two best-selling books, Winning Through Intimidation (1974) and Looking Out for Number One (1977). After publishing his third book, Restoring the American Dream (1980), Ringer started a newsletter and a book publishing company.
When Robert Ringer could not find a publisher for his 1974 self-help book, Winning Through Intimidation, he self-published the work and it became a national bestseller. Winning Through Intimidation describes the techniques Ringer used to negotiate deals in the advertising and entertainment industries. Ringer's anecdotes feature his "take-no-prisoners" approach to negotiations, emphasizing that business deals require participants to protect their own interests vigorously.
The tremendous success of Winning Through Intimidation led Ringer to publish Looking...
(The entire section is 2972 words.)
A Time for Truth
By: William E. Simon
Source: Simon, William E. A Time for Truth. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1978, 126–131, 165–166.
About the Author: William E. Simon (1922–2000), a New Jersey native and longtime successful municipal bond broker, was appointed U.S. secretary of the treasury in May 1974, during the final days of President Richard Nixon's (served 1969–1974) administration. Simon also served as President Gerald R. Ford's (served 1974–1977) secretary of the treasury and remained in office during the 1975 New York City Bankruptcy Crisis. Simon was the Ford administration's principle liaison with both Congress and New York City during the acrimonious debate over a potential federal government bailout of the troubled metropolis.
Settled by Dutch, Jews, French Huguenots, and Germans, and home to the largest black population outside the South, as well as to significant Hispanic and Asian communities, New York has always boasted an ethnically mixed population full of enterprising citizens who are active in all areas of the economy. At the start of the Civil War (1861–1865), New Yorkers, who largely sympathized thized with the slaveholding South, toyed with the idea of leaving the Union and...
(The entire section is 2562 words.)
"Labor Law Reform and Its Enemies"
By: Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers
Date: January 6–13, 1979
Source: Ferguson, Thomas, and Joel Rogers. "Labor Law Reform and Its Enemies." The Nation, January 6-13, 1979, 1, 17–18, 19, 20.
About the Authors: Thomas Ferguson (1949–), a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is one of the nation's leading experts on the role of organized labor in American electoral politics.
Joel Rogers (1952–)is a professor of law, political science, and sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who has written extensively on the future of the American working class.
In 1935, passage of the Wagner Act (formally called the National Labor Relations Act) changed the relations between managers and employees, business and government, and business and organized labor in the United States. The act, enforced by the newly created National Labor Relations Board, recognized the rights of American workers to organize into labor unions, to use those unions in collective bargaining for legally binding contracts with their employers, and to have access to government agencies for mediation of disputes.
For most of the post-World War II period, the...
(The entire section is 3398 words.)
"Low Pay, Bossy Bosses Kill Kids' Enthusiasm for Food-Service Jobs"
By: Jim Montgomery
Date: March 15, 1979
Source: Jim Montgomery. "Low Pay, Bossy Bosses Kill Kids' Enthusiasm for Food-Service Jobs." Wall Street Journal, March 15, 1979, 1, 11, 33.
About the Author: Jim Montgomery wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which is published by Dow Jones & Company. The Wall Street Journal first began publication in the United States in 1889, and has since gone on to become a successful newspaper with a wide readership and several global editions. Dow Jones & Company also publishes Barron's and the Far Eastern Economic Review.
American postwar consumer culture often centered on the ubiquitous fast-food restaurant. Emerging from the suburban retail culture of California in the 1950s, the McDonald's hamburger and french fries franchise expanded throughout the country in the 1960s and 1970s. Relying on the franchise model of local entrepreneurs putting up cash to sell recognizable brand-name products, fast-food chains such as Shoney's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Denny's, Wendy's, Burger King, Steak 'n Shake, and others created not just a long-running retail phenomenon but an entire segment of consumer culture. These restaurants served as gathering...
(The entire section is 2978 words.)
An American Renaissance: A Strategy for the 1980s
By: Jack F. Kemp
Source: Kemp, Jack F. An American Renaissance: A Strategy for the 1980s. New York: Harper & Row, 1979, 1–3, 5–7, 7–8, 9, 10, 10–11.
About the Author: Jack French Kemp (1935–), a California native, played professional football as a quarterback for the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills before entering politics. Kemp was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 as a Republican from Buffalo, New York. An unsuccessful aspirant for the 1988 G.O.P. presidential nomination, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush (served 1989–1993) as his secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In 1996, Kemp ran on the unsuccessful Republican national ticket as Robert Dole's vice presidential running mate.
Between 1947 to 1973, U.S. annual productivity and growth rates rose to historically high levels but then began to fall. Since the end of World War II (1939–1945), economists had assumed that price inflation and unemployment were like two ends of a seesaw: If the economy grew too quickly, prices would rise to a point where the cost of inflation led employers to cut jobs. If employment rose too far too fast, price inflation would be the result. Yet by...
(The entire section is 2698 words.)