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Why America Lost the War on Poverty—and How to Win it$
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Frank Stricker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831113

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807882290_stricker

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The 1950s Limited Government, Limited Affluence

The 1950s Limited Government, Limited Affluence

(p.9) Chapter One The 1950s Limited Government, Limited Affluence
Why America Lost the War on Poverty—and How to Win it

Frank Stricker

University of North Carolina Press

Many Americans favorably viewed the decade of the 1950s, remembering it as a time of prosperity and moral calm. There were also unfavorable sentiments, however, especially the notion that economic advances were limited and that critical thinking was suppressed by anticommunism and consumerism. This chapter examines poverty and how it was defined by Americans during the 1950s. It considers whether the economy of the 1950s solved poverty, and whether it did so without much support from government. More specifically, the chapter discusses the government's role in promoting economic growth and alleviating the plight of the poor. It also explores whether the high unemployment and persistent poverty of the late 1950s could be attributed to capitalism or to discrete problems of individuals and subcultures (for example, racism). The chapter analyzes Dwight Eisenhower's decision to fight inflation rather than unemployment and poverty, and concludes by assessing the debate on poverty involving liberal economists John Kenneth Galbraith, Leon Keyserling, and Robert Lampman.

Keywords:   poverty, economic growth, unemployment, capitalism, John Kenneth Galbraith, Leon Keyserling, Robert Lampman, Dwight Eisenhower, inflation, anticommunism

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