The Wealth of Nations 1977: From boom to depression to prosperity to stagflation to¨what?

From boom to depression to prosperity to stagflation to—what?

Jobs, pay, prices, taxes—the heart of economic news—have been subjects of intense concern to ordinary citizens throughout history. Yet few trends in news coverage during the past 60 years have been more striking than the growth of business and economic reporting, in sheer volume, in sophistication and in influence on public opinion.

This shift mirrors a vast change in American and international perceptions. In the palmy days of the 1920s, the economy seemed to be a machine that ran automatically. It might develop rattles and knocks during wars and speculative panics, but most...

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