Business: Business, Dec. 31, 1956

BY virtually every economic measure, 1956 was the greatest year in history. Yet many Americans hardly seemed to notice the amazing performance of the mightiest economy mankind had ever known. Just as the nation was once resigned to a depression psychology, the U.S. was now in the heady grip of a prosperity psychology. The great American boom was almost a standard part of U.S. life, no more surprising than the automakers' ads plugging the "two-car family''—a status more and more Americans achieved in 1956.

Only when measured against the production and consumption of the...

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