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NeoNote — Post WWII

Segue to history, one of my favorite topics.

The American extended childhood is a post WWII phenomena. That's also what gave us the Baby Boomers, the less said about the better. I suspect that it was a compensation for the war.

Having said that, I've known 14 year olds I would trust with my life, and I've known 40 year olds that I wouldn't trust to tie their own shoes.

Well, part of it was the labor force shift. Part of it was that for a couple of decades the US had the biggest functional industrial base. Part of it was the shift in attitudes and how parents made their kids their priority. So we ended up with money and coddled kids. Some of those kids were over-coddled. The effects on the next two generations were not so pleasant. Strauss and Howe did a decent job examining the effect of generational cohorts in Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069. I suspect the theory is pretty dependent on an outward focused society with strong trade though. So beyond the cohorts and the wealth, the tech base got kicked up a few notches. At the end of WWII we had jets and sort-of color TV and room-sized computers. Now look at us.

Although there had been some efforts in social engineering early in the 20th Century, I don't think it's an accident that "reform" and "social change" didn't really take in this country until we had excess money and resources that weren't immediately necessary to maintain our economic and trading base. Some of those changes were good, like the Civil Rights movement and re-intigrating women in the job market. Some weren't. When the FedGov got involved, it became an all-for-one national situation that didn't allow for either alternate methods or keeping the old way of doing things. The one thing you can say about Big Government Solutions is that there is no competition. Which means no incentive to keep costs down or improve. Second order effects mean that free market solutions can't compete because of the "free" government solutions.

It's no accident that America's greatest social, technological, economic, and industrial growth happened during times of internal and external competition. The is the essence of the free market and it has lifted more people out of poverty than anything else in history. Competition is the self-regulating wonder that makes things better tomorrow than they were today. It can't happen without choice and the free market.

Or, competition keeps us honest.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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