Economic Self-Destruction starts in 3..2..1

     The Report of the President’s commission on Campus Unrest (1970)

        Throughout the Vietnam War, American soldiers were faced with many new tactics by the communist Viet cog on unfamiliar ground. Many American citizens strongly opposed the war.  Philip Caputo, “describes how difficult it was for American troops trained for conventional combat to adjust to the realities of a guerrilla war of attrition against a largely unseen enemy.” (p. 339). Following incidents of the war, an increase in human casualties created sentiment that promoted protests and riots. One such example is the incident that took place at Kent University Campus. “During a tense confrontation, the poorly trained guard troops and nervous guardsmen fired on student protesters, killing four.” (p.332). Demonstrations continued to be commonplace as the people’s sentiment toward the war saw a foreseeable political and economic downturn.


Throughout the 1970’s, there was a period of economic stagflation, where both high rates of inflation and a stagnant economy were present.  Stagflation is usually cause by a shock in the supply of an economy. With the ongoing war, the United States made the wrongful decision to pump even more money into the economy, it needed the money for the war, but this decision ultimately made the situation much worse.  The 1970’s was a time where shortage at gas pumps was rampant.  Signs such as “Sorry, No Gas Today” littered the coastlines, and the very few available gasoline you could find, was price hiked tremendously.

Many experts today share a common view that the Vietnam War played a contributing factor that directly influenced inflation.  There were budget deficits, and as with any war, wars can become quite expensive.  Eventually, the American veterans came home defeated. When these veterans came back from Vietnam, they were not as well received or highly praised as previous veterans by their fellow citizens.  Eight years later, North and South Vietnam finally united into one cohesive country. The Vietnam War can be seen as the most devastating dud in history.

From Deceit to Riches

“Thomas Edison promised New Jersey politicians $1,000 each in return for favorable legislation”. (248).  In this era, fraud and deceit was the only way to have skyrocketing income. Robber Barons such as John D. Rockefeller made millions, all fueled by the poor people’s pockets. The working class remained with its low wages working 12 hour shifts. “Shred efficient businessman building empires, chocking out competition, maintaining high prices, keeping wages low, using government subsidies”. (251).

Then there were the lawyers, technicians, and engineerings, paid slightly more, but these were the ones keeping the scheme running in this perfectly devised system designed by the Robber Barons themselves. Ruthless tactics such as price fixing and sabotage were the norm. These banditos attained government subsidies and used it to their advantage to fund their enterprises; meanwhile the working class people could not obtain a simple housing subsidy.

Robber Barons alike to Rockefeller concentrated industry onto a saturated monopoly that controlled a great deal of markets. Many different industries depended on one another for survival, but the common denominator was, most of them needed the steel industry for survival, to supply machinery, railroad tracks, and raw material for building blocks.  Although there was much carelessness during industrialization, many good things came out from industrialization. Howard Zinn relates the good things to the transcontinental railroad which connected hubs and cities to many different destinations. Steel in itself increased productivity and made possible many commercial ventures. However, too much fast progress in society is usually accompanied by cutting corners and legalized organized crime as to the point where the middle-class is almost nonexistant.