Arthur Miller first heard the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman that would become the basis for his play, A View from the Bridge in 1947. He would not write it until 1955, when it was produced on Broadway as a simple, unadorned one-act. Miller would then develop and expand it into a full-length production with director Peter Brook in London in 1956. The incubation period of A View from the Bridge, spanning from 1947 to 1956, straddles and absorbs a host of major events both on the national landscape and in Miller’s own life. In his autobiography, Timebends: A Life, Arthur Miller defines the trajectory of this turbulent chapter of his life that began with his curiosity in a new longshoremen’s movement trying to clean up the corruption on the
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Meanwhile, the business elite, the Robber Barons of America, expanded their foreign markets and enjoyed the boom of a wartime economy. This formula was so lucrative that the partnership of business and government solidified. The formula became a repeating pattern in the 20th century. It was used in WWI, WWII and then transformed into a kind of perpetual suspended animation called the Cold War.
The stock market crash of 1929 came directly from the wild speculation on the future value of stocks. This was compounded by the fact that many investors had bought stock with borrowed money. Howard Zinn references John Galbraith’s study of the “fundamentally unsound” economy leading into the 1930s: “[Galbraith] points to very unhealthy corporate and banking structures, an unsound foreign trade, much economic misfortune, and the ‘bad distribution of income’ (the highest 5 percent of the population received about one-third of all personal income)” (386). Many businesses closed and over five thousand banks closed. The businesses that survived laid off employees and cut the wages of the remaining employees. Henry Ford blamed the crisis on laziness of the average worker just before he laid off 75,000 workers. Those responsible for organizing the economy did not understand what had happened, and they all “refused to recognize it, and found reasons other than the