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How close did society come to collapse in the 1960s/1970s?

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posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:07 PM
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This is a question I've spent a lot of time pondering...savoring, even.

Opposition to Vietnam, the radical hard-left ethos of the "1968ers" in both Europe, the US, elsewhere. Then the oil crises, stagflation, all kinds of hardships experienced more or less intensely in different places by different people. The situation in the developing world was different and some of the 20th century's darker moments unfolded there around this time: Mao's Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot's Year Zero...or even the relatively severe shortages and shocks that buffeted otherwise stable nations like Japan, South Korea, and the UK in those years.

In the US, serious social decay set in, the "rust belt" became part of the social idiom and the hollowing out of industry began in earnest. The idealism of the hippies quickly faded into various nightmare excesses...or flickered warily in a small corner, riding out what must have seemed like the end. Then came the second oil shock of the late 70s and bumpy rise of the early 80s, when in some ways things seemed to rise to a creshendo. Do you remember Vockler jacking up interest rates...ready to gun to 20% ??...those are heavy freaking numbers. Oh, let's not forget the insane spikes in metals, which even today's hot-and-bothered market hasn't yet equalled in real terms...then suddenly, *poof*...it was "Morning in America"...at least on the face of it. But we know entropy is always increasing and if it decreases locally in one place, the concequences are all the grimmer at a different time and/or place.

By some metrics things are worse now than the shocks of the 70s, and the stats are less reliable now in many ways than they used to be, but this rot is unquantifable. Just out of curiosity, how many feel that the foundations were really rocked to the core in those days? At the time it seemed almost self-evident to millions...and yet somehow the fabric of normlacy remained intact. How close did it come to being ripped to true tatters?
edit on 3/6/11 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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at the end of the day society did not collapse, people still worked, business kept producing, government was operational...



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by gaia.chi.au
at the end of the day society did not collapse, people still worked, business kept producing, government was operational...


Well, see, this is the question: How close did we come? Was it not close at all, all an illusion, nothing to worry about? Or did we almost hit rock-bottom somehow? (Obviously "we" will vary for different people.) It's an interesting and important question in its own right, but beyond that, asking this kind of question might teach us something about how we should look at our own time, and how serious things truly are. The study of misperceptions is a powerful tool.



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:29 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


The World War Two generation was still alive and fairly young, 40 to 60 years old, and the system owed them something extra for what they accomplished. The creeping socialism started in earnest then, and looked like normal people getting what was deserved.

The younger generation had the momentum to change. I think if technology had been a little farther along we would have a solar--alcohol economy now.



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:32 PM
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The 1960s and 70s were a very unstable time in Western history. In the 60s we had the Cuban Missile Crisis, the death of 40+ million Chinese, Viet Nam War, Race Riots, Assassinations, May 1968 France, Woodstock & Hippie Movement, Rivers of Blood Speech, Liberation of 32 countries in Africa, The Troubles, Man first entered into space and another man landed on the moon, the Sexual Revolution, massive drug exploration, and that is just the 1960s.

We can define the 1960s in terms of being the decade of culture, it was based around exploration of taboos and shattering cultural norms, laying the groundwork for the entire Social liberalism which had prevailed since then leading to the rise of the ‘Christian right’.

I personally believe what could have truly tilted the entire balances of the world from that era would have been a revolution in France which forcefully deposed Charles de Gaulle.

The 1970s were a bit different, it was marred by economic turmoil. The collapse of the Breton Woods System, the collapse of manufacturing in the United States and United Kingdom as well as many other Western nations, the oil crisis, Neoliberalism replaced Keynesian economics, free-trade replaced protectionism, Stagflation, mass unemployment, the rise of Pol Pot, the Iranian Revolution, resignation of Richard Nixon due to Watergate scandal, beginning of global mass urbanization, the ‘Winter of Discontent’, and numerous other events occurred in that decade alone.

In the 1960s we faced the revolution of culture, the cultural structure and norms were massively liberalized which took effect in the 1970s. In the 1970s we faced the collapse of economies, the economic program and structure was then massively liberalized which took effect in the 1980s.

These two decades alone culminated in widespread liberalization throughout the West, overthrowing old cultural traditions and economic Keynesianism. At any time during these two decades any nation could have collapsed, any nation could have suffered a revolution, and at any time a global nuclear war could have killed us all. So IMO society was right at the edge looking over, having the possibility of collapse at any moment.

However I would like to add that while all this violence and instability was occurring around the world at that time, no other decade in history can compare to the 1930s and 1940s. World War 1 was horrifying and wiped out an entire generation of young men in Europe, but the culmination of the Great Depression, rise of Fascism, and World War 2 occurring over a period of less than 20 years was far more devastating to human civilization than anything the 1960s-70s offer (minus nuclear war).
edit on 3/6/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 

It doesn't look like you're getting the kind of answer you wanted. But, really "How close?" is a tough question to answer. What scale should we use? I think it was closer then than it is now, but I think the 60's/70's were a sharp pothole in the road that could have wrecked us. Now, to continue the road analogy, I think we're at a fork with people fighting for control of the wheel.

That probably didn't help, but as I like to say "I'm not the sharpest bulb in the drawer."



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 10:41 PM
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reply to post by Misoir
 


Misoir, once again I am awed by your insight, generosity with your time and knowledge, and your style. It's just too bad that I've sworn off hero worship.



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 11:21 PM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 
Misoirs sweeping history lesson is technically corrct but for the average American suburbanite on the block
We were only 2quick steps from Opeys mayberry,late 60's as a 10yearold we had ONE family broken by divorce on our entire block. a few uncles in 'nam
who thankfully came back physically in one piece; I distinctly remember putting .37/gal gasoline
into a dirtbike( from "couch change" or a few returned coke bottle deposits to spend the weekend all over the "trails'. 5free channels from a roof antenna abc, nbc, cbs, wor, pbs Batman /star trek first seasons. Apollo Astronauts on the moon( don't go there)... if the t.v. died you found a repair guy good with vacuum tubes( Yo' "tony" or "Sal") . Life was pretty damn good. Jimi Hendrix & Jjim Morrison were alive. woodstock (actually i was too young to be aware of it)
Close to revolution? Other than more mom's starting to work outside the home.
No.
The Country is pretty badly messed up now. Divided"; too many are swinging blindly at a "system" ; The "culture" has taken a violent mean vulgar turn. Numbers are too big to write.
edit on 6-3-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)

edit on 6-3-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 11:32 PM
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It was bad.
Really really bad.
People wanted to pack up
and move to a new country entirely.




Consider the comercial at the begining of this news cast from July 1976.
These kind of pionneer dreams would sell.

But during the seventies TPTB seem to have lost control of the propaganda.

People were actually and seriously leaving America,
and the flames between the left and right were raging.

Hanging over every was the bomb.



The political rhetoric was like molten fire on the streets,
definitions of right and wrong were turned on their heads,
assasinations, televised war, and the bomb.
Militant organizations were everwhere and on every campus.
Bombs were the weapon of choice, take over of a TV station the holy grail.
The saying on the streets was "The revelution will be televized"

The country was comming apart at the seams.




Then in 1977 a little sci fi movie called star was was released.
The effect this movie had on world history cannot be overstated.
It was panned and ignored when first released.
At the end of the summer news stories started popping up that people were still standing in lines wrapping around the theater to see the movie.
I think people became confused that their children didn't want to be pioneers or cowboys,
and took a step back.

But for the first time in generations both left and right could agree on something.
They could point at the screen as darth vader walked in and say "now that's a bad guy."


David Grouchy
edit on 6-3-2011 by davidgrouchy because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


charles, may I use your words?,,,,,Me, too, Misoir!!


Thanks, charles. You're not so bad yourself.


....oh, my 2c....my younger days then, I found it exciting times, but, yes, my parents thought it was the end of the world. We weren't affected economically where we lived, though. We complained about the gas prices, but more about the lines and regulations about who could buy gas when. We complained about inflation, but got pay raises. Interest rates were high, but money in the savings account in the bank earned a lot of interest, too

The Texas Hunt bros cornered the silver market, not global markets, so still pretty localized. The Watts 1965 riots were scary for my folks. I think when a major tire plant left the area, Watts experienced high unemployment, setting the stage for unrest. Housing prices started to go up and up, but with wives entering the workforce, mortgages could still be met; still, prices got ridiculous for the time.

We knew of Youngstown, Ohio, steel plants starting to close. I think Japanese steel built the Alaska pipeline.

I remember an older married sister stating how, since the world could be blown up anyway with a nuclear war, why have children.

Society culturally was changing, to some collapsing, but economic collapse probably depended on where you lived.

California went through a major drought period, so we had to save water and energy.. Maybe what I remember from that period, however, was some sense that you could do something about lack of water and energy, that you could take matters into your own hands. One could even avoid the draft if one wanted. One didn't need to rely on govt or corporations to survive.

We were rocked to the core culturally, but remember, back then the middle class still had their wealth.

desert, stop rambling...



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 11:47 PM
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reply to post by 46ACE
 


Thank you for your insight, I definitely agree with what you stated in your response. It was not close to a revolution, per se, but things were teetering pretty bad with large scale violence in many large urban areas across the country. Society overall however was still mostly intact outside of the urban areas, and family values still prevailed in much of the urban areas as well, most of the cultural rebellion came from the college campuses across the country. To prove how they, the hippies, were still basically in the minority take the election of 1968 and 1972 at the peak of the Hippie movement.

1968: Richard Nixon (ran on a campaign of Law & Order) received 43.4% of the popular vote, George Wallace (ran on a campaign of States’ rights & segregation) received 13.5% of the popular vote, and Hubert Humphrey was the last candidate from the New Deal Coalition who received 42.7% of the popular vote. If you put the two Conservatives together, although their views differed greatly, the Conservatives won 56.9% of the popular vote.

1972: Richard Nixon won a landslide victory against the Hippie darling George McGovern, 60.7% to 37.5%.

The cultural revolution and anti-war activism took place on college campuses across the country, the race riots took place in the large urban cities, so the average town was left unharmed from the actual events which were plastered all over the news at the time.

Family values remained, communities stuck together, corporations did not have a foothold outside of the urban northeast/great lakes/Pacific Coast, and none of this changed until the 1970s when those college kids became the adults in the work force and grew in influence, they were no longer confined to college campuses to spread their ilk.

What is your take ‘46ACE’ on my above statements? I was not alive during the time so I do not have a personal reference to the events, only what I have learned from my time studying political history.
edit on 3/6/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 11:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input so far, I appreciate it. Keep it coming.

One thought to focus the discussion a bit...the 60s/70s is a huge topic, the situation was vastly different in different places; we assume a certain "smoothness" of internatialization and integration that still didn't exist for the most part, and this is easy to forget. The lack of technological close-knitted-ness is another point that's easily overlooked and buried in postmodern assumptions. The binary, Manichean mentality of the Cold War was still with us; this, too, is quite different than the way we conceive of the world today, only a scant 30 or 40 years later/

Aaaannnyyway...my question was basically not: "Was it tougher/worse or better than the current time?", but rather: Can we say that structurally, the "system" came close to cracking in a fundamental way? Now what does this mean? It depends on how you define "the system," and I'd leave that open so we can get a wide variety of thoughts going. But ultimately I guess what I was trying to get at with this was -- if we can see how close we came and how well the system rebounded in a similar soico-economic malaise, it might tell us a thing or two about the fabric of society and its basic resiliancy. I feel the Great Depression and the 30s/40s are too distant to tell us some of the details that a comparison with the 60s/70s would tell us.

Basically, I'm looking for how resiliant things were, how extraordinary the situation got. Because we all know that for the most part, the system returned from whatever brink it visited in the 70s and 60s. The question is, how close to the brink did it ever really come?



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 12:01 AM
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This is a great question that I have asked many people. I work with retired individuals who have a good concept of current events, etc. When I ask these people which time was more difficult.....about 8 out of 10 say our current times are worse than the late 60's and early 70's. The interesting part is they finish their comments on how sound our leadership had been in previous decades and how so many policy changes during that time ( 60's-70's) created doubt.
I can think of dozens of triggers that could upset society, and that will create much chaos, but it is not in our nature to fail!



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 12:15 AM
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I was born in 1961, one of 7 military brats, my father was an Air Force Senior Master Sargeant, he retired in 1964. Times were turbulant, the protests and call for change, world affairs and war, didn't even miss the children at that time, I was taught in the first grade skills to survive a nuclear war. I will never forget that.

However, as a family of 9 total, I have to say I do not remember us ever going without, my mom worked, and my dad started a school for special needs children, we always had new clothes and bikes for christmas, always had food on the table, needed equipment for school, ect. I think after 1968 came and went things started to calm down a bit. I loved the 70's.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 09:28 AM
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reply to post by silent thunder
 


I'm no economist or historian, so I'm not backing up what I'm saying with book facts. I'm thinking of a comparison like this; America back then was like a surfer still riding a great economic wave. There was still the economic momentum to propel the nation forward, despite regional downturns.

My b-i-l started out at $10 hour in the 70's, and the purchasing power was great. Now he could still start out at $10 hour, but not be able to afford what he had back then. One could expect to increase your income back then, now one is more likely to expect income to decrease.

After 1980 the economic wave started to flatten out for most Americans. The 60-79s was still a Main Street economy; but as the economy increasingly went Wall Street and global, the wave started to peter out for most Americans, finally hitting the shore 2008.

I think this is a worse time for most Americans. They'll have to sit offshore again and wait for a wave to come along, but the seas are different for them now, pretty flat. Your working American has been gone after by sharks, and sharks still want to consume what's left as we write.

I dunno if this adds anything, but I had a couple more cents in my pocket.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by Misoir
reply to post by 46ACE
 


Thank you for your insight, I definitely agree with what you stated in your response. It was not close to a revolution, per se, but things were teetering pretty bad with large scale violence in many large urban areas across the country. Society overall however was still mostly intact outside of the urban areas, and family values still prevailed in much of the urban areas as well, most of the cultural rebellion came from the college campuses across the country. To prove how they, the hippies, were still basically in the minority take the election of 1968 and 1972 at the peak of the Hippie movement.

1968: Richard Nixon (ran on a campaign of Law & Order) received 43.4% of the popular vote, George Wallace (ran on a campaign of States’ rights & segregation) received 13.5% of the popular vote, and Hubert Humphrey was the last candidate from the New Deal Coalition who received 42.7% of the popular vote. If you put the two Conservatives together, although their views differed greatly, the Conservatives won 56.9% of the popular vote.

1972: Richard Nixon won a landslide victory against the Hippie darling George McGovern, 60.7% to 37.5%.

The cultural revolution and anti-war activism took place on college campuses across the country, the race riots took place in the large urban cities, so the average town was left unharmed from the actual events which were plastered all over the news at the time.

Family values remained, communities stuck together, corporations did not have a foothold outside of the urban northeast/great lakes/Pacific Coast, and none of this changed until the 1970s when those college kids became the adults in the work force and grew in influence, they were no longer confined to college campuses to spread their ilk.

What is your take ‘46ACE’ on my above statements? I was not alive during the time so I do not have a personal reference to the events, only what I have learned from my time studying political history.
edit on 3/6/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)


Sir : you do bring back some memories;You have the advantage ( "20/20 hindsight") of a MUCH, much (did I say "much"?) wider view and grasp of history than we did (.I.E. If it was not on the 3 national network 6:00 news channels or or in the local news paper or you weren't directly involved "it just didn't happen") Obviously no 'internet/computers, I do remember gas station odd/even days( odd numbered days only odd numbered license plates could fill up) around carters time;
Watts riot's, Asbury park riots and Chicago riots on t.v. Mom and dad worked...
But; truly to the ( oblivious?disconnected?") kid on the suburban (central New jersey no less!) streets we could not have cared less when college kids waved "anti-american" signs around ( and they seemed to do that "alot")..

Mark next door got a real Gibson Les paul!!!to go with his "old" Marshall
the garage was rockin!

Kubricks 2001 a space Odyssey came out in theatres: the first big budget scifi flick..still love it.got it again from from netflix just last week.

I guess I am a poor choice to ask about the politics of the time: I was admittedly very insulated from "social up heavel I'm sure it formed my opinions. today I find out one of my uncles was a big "Howard Zinn" Guy...Now you two would have alot to discuss! ; Sorry I'm not more informed.
Honda's cb750 killed the brit bike industry here( bummer)
chevelles came new off the floor with "big blocks"... "pintos" tended to explode when hit in the rear we got the recall notice...

Watergate: ( the"PRESIDENT"(?????) was a butthole????) WHOA.
high school sucked even then ( 70's) as it always has:Lp's; 8track tapes ( with the matchbook or folded piece of cardboard wedged in under the corner to make it "track" right and not squeal)...

Nobody (counselor or otherwise) pointed me toward a university;I headed to the military to work on Nuclear weapons for SAC: "Guranteed Job"( career field) program! people risked their lives and those of their family by trying to escapethe prisons; dogs and machineguns from behind the" iron curtain"of the communist bloc.
'nuff rambling 'bout"me".

All that and "disco" too! We're sorry we really are but George Lucas made up for the beegees.


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posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 01:38 PM
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Originally posted by Misoir

However I would like to add that while all this violence and instability was occurring around the world at that time, no other decade in history can compare to the 1930s and 1940s. World War 1 was horrifying and wiped out an entire generation of young men in Europe, but the culmination of the Great Depression, rise of Fascism, and World War 2 occurring over a period of less than 20 years was far more devastating to human civilization than anything the 1960s-70s offer (minus nuclear war).
edit on 3/6/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)


After the 30's and 40's, the powers that be could see that there would be no revolutions. If people don't revolt when they are starving or dieing, then when will they revolt?

We had a chance at a genuine revolution. Jaques Barzun says that rebellion and revolution are often confused. A rebellion leads to bloody violence but not much change. New people run old institutions. But a revolution changes the basic worldview of everyone who lives through it. I suspect the unrest of the 60's was a controlled burn to keep the system from naturally evolving to the next level.

So yes, revolution was possible, mostly from the baby boom population increase, however odds were agianst it due to the control structure of our society -- economic centralization through finance, political centralization through the Great Society idea, the mass media, and a dulling educational system.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 02:10 PM
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One thing that I believe is lacking in this discussion particularly when speaking about the 60's is the use of psychedelics by the young counter-culturalists, and the affect that it had on breaking down that era's status quo; in some ways for the better and in other ways for the worse. The music, culture, "rebellion", opening of taboos, political and civil protests and the overall mentality were ALL influenced by these substances which hadn't been used by the public at large in the times prior.

How does this relate to the OP's thread? There was a collapse of the mind and an expansion on the idea of what it meant to be human, and the purpose behind human civilization and customs (a breaking of rituals). We are going through something similar at this moment. All collapses follow paradigm shifting of mentalities from the current status quo. For the 60's there was a whole climate ripe for the change, and psychedelics acted as a sort of catalyst. Today we are also ripe for a change, only this time I think the catalyst is the internet. This is of course IMHO.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:31 PM
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Originally posted by Chewingonmushrooms
One thing that I believe is lacking in this discussion particularly when speaking about the 60's is the use of psychedelics by the young counter-culturalists, and the affect that it had on breaking down that era's status quo; in some ways for the better and in other ways for the worse. The music, culture, "rebellion", opening of taboos, political and civil protests and the overall mentality were ALL influenced by these substances which hadn't been used by the public at large in the times prior.

How does this relate to the OP's thread? There was a collapse of the mind and an expansion on the idea of what it meant to be human, and the purpose behind human civilization and customs (a breaking of rituals). We are going through something similar at this moment. All collapses follow paradigm shifting of mentalities from the current status quo. For the 60's there was a whole climate ripe for the change, and psychedelics acted as a sort of catalyst. Today we are also ripe for a change, only this time I think the catalyst is the internet. This is of course IMHO.

I agree wholeheartedly any revolution or paradigm shift will be directly created and or owe its power of numbers to the internet. .

IMHO The biggest thing narcotics ( "heroin" anyway) did "for" us was shorten the lives of some incredibly talented people. And ruined the lives of those it didn't kill..
I am quite sure some of the inputs here comes from information of how oppressive America was at the time by poli-sci professors on colleges sporting those same mentioned demonstrations.and contrarily to what they'd like you to believe:" no"; the basic American families life was pretty good. In other words the seeds of revolution were smaller and fewer than they may have have touted..

edit on 7-3-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-3-2011 by 46ACE because: (no reason given)



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