Mar 02 2009
"The Liberal Hour" Supports Maslow Window Model and Points to the Approaching Greatest Boom in History
In their recent book, The Liberal Hour — Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s (2008), G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot, both historians educated at Harvard, chronicle the brief rise to ascendancy in the U.S. of liberal leaders, policies, and programs during the 1960s. Their historical account provides impressive support for specific features of 21stCenturyWaves.com’s Maslow Window model. This model — based on 200 years of macroeconomic data and historical trends — points toward the ebullient attitudes and spectacular technology and space activities we can expect after 2015.
Specific examples of our Maslow Window Model and The Liberal Hour’s historical support include:
1. Maslow Windows are brief, rare, profoundly transformative intervals for society; they are watersheds that feature quantum leaps in technology, the economy, politics, and culture.
“Powerful historical forces caught up with America in the 1960s and swept through every corner of natonal life…for a short time…What distinguishes the 1960s is the mysterious and momentous convergence of a public ready for change and a government poised to act.”
One particularly effective way to experience the 1960s, in both text and images, is The Sixties Chronicle with a Forward by former CBS Evening News anchor (from 1962-1981), Walter Cronkite, “Despite all the turmoil of the Sixties, the decade ended on a resounding note of triumph. I maintain that of all the incredible technical and scientific developments of the 20th Century, July 20, 1969, the date of our landing on the Moon, will be remembered by schoolchildren 500 years from now.”
2. Over the last 200 years, Maslow Windows are triggered by unparalleled economic booms accompanied by unusual society-wide affluence.
“America’s unprecedented affluence in the postwar years, (was) keyed to an industrial engine that nearly doubled its output during the 1950s and again during the 1960s…”
Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith marveled that in the 1960s “the ordinary individual has access to amenities — foods, entertainment, personal transportation, plumbing — in which not even the rich rejoiced a century ago.”
“Disposable personal income, in constant dollars, grew by 33% in the 1950s. In the 1960s it grew by more than 50%.”
“Americans could more readily embrace measures to lift those at the margins of society when the good life seemed within reach of all.”
In effect, “The Liberal Hour” was made possible by the unparalleled 1960s economic boom.
3. The major, twice-per-century economic boom of a typical Maslow Window creates widespread affluence-induced ebullience; as many people ascend the Maslow hierarchy, this brief, almost giddy feeling makes most technology, exploration, and social programs seem not only favorable, but almost irresistible.
“With wealth never before imagined, Americans could dream dreams never before possible. In the early years of the 1960s , national optimism reached epidemic levels.”
“Soaring revenues convinced many in Washington that ‘the wealthiest country on the face of the earth’…could accomplish whatever it set its mind to.”
“The 1960s were presumed to be an age of unique possibilities. The wealth produced by the powerful engine of the American economy…made anything — and everything — seem possible…It was an optimistic age, and belief was too easily suspended.”
Here Mackenzie and Weisbrot offer us what is essentially the perfect definition of Maslow Window-style ebullience.
4. Despite the spectacular technological, economic, and social progress accomplished during a typical Maslow Window, they typically end abruptly. As the economic boom begins to slow, ebullience fades, and elevated Maslow states collapse. Major wars, triggered by ebullient individuals or nations who do not ascend the Maslow hierarchy, sometimes cause Maslow Windows to close prematurely.
“By mid-1966 the liberal storm was passing…It came suddenly and raged briefly, but it left a deeply altered landscape in its wake.”
“And the booming economy of the early 1960s…that fueled the limitless sense of possibility in those years, was also confronting the inevitabilities of the business cycle and the impacts of the combined costs of a foreign war (Vietnam) and a Great Society…”
While in 1964 President Lyndon Johnson could insist that the U.S. — the richest, most powerful country in the world — “can do it all.” By 1966, “that kind of talk had begun to ring hollow even in the White House.”
Mackenzie and Weisbrot have sketched the political, economic, and social factors that are likely to repeat during the 2015 Maslow Window. Historical records of the last 200 years of great explorations (e.g., Lewis and Clark) and macro-engineering projects (as well as macroeconomic data) support their account.
However an interesting question arises: Because there was no financial panic or major contraction (analogous to the Panic of 2008 and our current recession) during the post-WW II boom prior to the 1960s Apollo Maslow WIndow, will our experience of the 2015 Maslow Window be less positive than the 1960s? The answer is no, probably not. Indeed, no Maslow Window of the last 200 years has ever been delayed or diminished in any observable way by a financial panic and/or major recession in the decade prior to the Window.
For more perspective on this, you’re invited to consult what happens to be currently the most frequently read post on 21stCenturyWaves.com: “Economic Crisis Supports Maslow Wave Forecasts.”