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The First Turning: Broad-based Growth

America was on the winning side of a world war. That's partly because our cause was "just," thereby attracting a majority of the world's people, partly because of the bravery of our soldiers, and very largely because of the productivity of our home front, which included a large number of women working as "Rosie the Riveters" in the arms factories (the Germans and Japanese didn't want their women to work).

At that time "uncommon valor became a common virtue" (Iwo Jima). In that kind of time, and society, "one man was as good as another." Tested World War II veterans came home, graduated college in record time (George Bush Sr. went through Yale in two and a half years, unlike his son "W,"), aided financially by the GI Bill constructed just for them. Then they collectively climbed the corporate ladder in record time (a group of ten buddies known as the "Whiz Kids" parachuted into Ford Motor Company and took it over).

These men also created a Baby Boom that would drive American society for decades to come. Unlike the women of the 1930s who often shirked marital relations with "loser" husbands, the female peers of these men wanted to marry and sleep with this bunch of war heroes. (And if they didn't, there were plenty of European and Asian "war brides" who would.)

Boosted by wartime technological innovations (such as advanced assembly line techniques and anti-biotics), the former soldiers capitalized on tech advances dating back to the 1920s that had by now become "user friendly," and thereby accessible to all. As a result, "a rising tide lifted all boats," except for those of a few "shirkers" at the bottom. A public infrastructure of dams, bridges, interstate highways, and ultimately, a space program girdled the nation. The fruits of peace and prosperity were there for all to see.  Until the law of diminishing returns and the arrival of new generations put paid to this era.