European Crisis in the 1970s and 1980s Essay

2168 Words Apr 19th, 2014 9 Pages
European Crisis in the 1970s and 1980s

During the 1950s and 1960s, Europe experienced a period of prosperity. Harold Macmillan gives a sense of just how well these times really were when he says, “Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good,” (Judt, 324). As political parties moved more towards a common center, rather than towards extremism, a rebirth of democracy was created, underlined by growth and full employment. The support for social democratic ideas flourished along with the prosperity of the 1950s and the 1960s in Western Europe. This time was characterized by conservative individualism and economic growth through regulated capitalism (Mazower, 327). With the help of the Marshall Plan, a global
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For instance, a strong women’s movement progressed during the 1970s and 1980s, which was influenced by the mass unemployment, the feminization of poverty, and the increasing job segregation (Mazower, 352). However, the majority of people in Western Europe were becoming less interested in politics, and party memberships were likewise dropping (Mazower, 356). As society loss interest in politics, it became less attracted towards collective policies but became more focused on the individual. Although high unemployment rates were a large concern to Western Europe, many politicians were convinced monetary policies should be focused on fighting inflation rather than sustaining employment (Judt, 460). During the 1950s and 1960s, prices slowly climbed as the demands for consumer products and the use of credit increased. At first, gentle inflation during this time was seen as beneficial, as it was in a sense “buying off the working class,” but in the late 1960s inflation developed into an everyday factor, then into an economic order, causing people to vote as consumers (Mazower, 328). As a result, interest rates increased and a long postwar economic recession followed. In turn, the combination of both stagnation and growing structural problems caused unemployment to escalate, business investments to fall, and the tax burden to grow (Drouin, 15). Inflation was primarily being caused by the rise in commodity prices on world

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