THE banners in Red Square, the speeches in Bucharest and Belgrade, the dutiful delegations, the flowers and the fanfare—all heralded the achievements of a half-century of Communism. What has happened to U.S. capitalism in the same period?

Compare an imaginary middle-class Mr. U.S. in 1917 with his counterpart today. After breakfast cooked on a cast-iron stove, Mr. U.S. of 1917 wrapped himself against the early autumn chill, went out to his open Model T, hand-cranked the engine into ear-splitting action, and headed for the office at the blazing 15 m.p.h. demanded by the bumpy, unpaved road. Back at the house, his wife...

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