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No Direction HomeThe American Family and the Fear of National Decline, 1968-1980$
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Natasha Zaretsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830949

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867808_zaretsky

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Getting the House in Order

Getting the House in Order

The Oil Embargo, Consumption, and the Limits of American Power

(p.71) 2 Getting the House in Order
No Direction Home

Natasha Zaretsky

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the OPEC oil embargo of 1973–1974, which came as a retaliation against America's support of Israel in the October War, and how the nation's position was compromised during the embargo due to the consuming excesses of the postwar middle class. Although the effects of the embargo varied by region, its psychological impact was profound. Corporate advertisers, oil company executives, and conservation advocates argued that the embargo was a crisis of dependency that could be attributed to the family's strong consumption of high-energy appliances and goods. Instead of being interpreted as a symptom of national decline alone, the oil embargo was also touted as an occasion to fix the morals of the middle-class family in the face of diminishing resources.

Keywords:   oil embargo, OPEC, Israel, October War, America, middle class, consumption, appliances, national decline

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