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This is Rich Kleinfeldt.
And this is Ray Freeman with THE MAKING OF A NATION -- a VOA Special English program about the history of the United States. Today, we tell the story about some social and cultural issues of the nineteen seventies and nineteen eighties. VOICE ONE:
An economics professor from the United States was teaching in Britain in the early Nineteen-Eighties. One of his students asked this question: "What is most important to Americans these days?" He said: "Earning money." Clearly, his answer was far too simple. Still, many observers would agree that great numbers of Americans in the Nineteen-Eighties were concerned with money. These people wanted the good life that they believed money could buy. VOICE TWO:
In some ways, the Nineteen-Eighties were the opposite of the Nineteen-Sixties. The Nineteen-Sixties were years of protest and reform. Young Americans demonstrated against the Vietnam War. African Americans demonstrated for civil rights. Women demonstrated for equal treatment. For many, society's hero was the person who helped others. For many in the Nineteen-Eighties, society's hero was the person who helped himself. Success seemed to be measured only by how much money a person made. VOICE ONE:
The period of change came during the Nineteen-Seventies. For a while, these years remained tied to the social experiments and struggles of the Nineteen-Sixties. Then they showed signs of what American would be like in the Nineteen-Eighties. There were a number of reasons for the change. One reason was that the United States ended its military involvement in Vietnam. Another was that the civil rights movement and women's movements reached many of their goals. A third reason was the economy. During the Nineteen-Seventies, the United States suffered an economic recession. Interest rates and inflation were high. There was a shortage of imported oil. VOICE TWO:
As the Nineteen-Seventies moved toward the Nineteen-Eighties, Americans became tired of social struggle. They became tired of losing money. They had been working together for common interests. Now, many wanted to spend more time on their own personal interests. This change appeared in many parts of American society. It affected popular culture, education, and politics. VOICE ONE:
For example, one of the most popular television programs of that time was about serious social issues. It was called "All in the Family". It was about a factory worker who hates black people and opposes equal rights for women. His family slowly helps him to accept and value different kinds of people. Other television programs, however, were beginning to present an escape from serious issues. These included "Happy Days" and "Three's Company." Music showed the change, too. In the Nineteen-Sixties, folk music was very popular. Many folk songs were about social problems. In the Nineteen-Seventies, groups played hard rock and punk music, instead. VOICE TWO:
Self-help books were another sign that Americans were becoming more concerned about their own lives. These books described ways to make people happier with themselves. One of the most popular was called I'm Okay, You're Okay. It was published in Nineteen-Sixty-Nine. It led the way for many similar books throughout the Nineteen-Seventies. VOICE ONE:
The Nineteen-Seventies also saw a change in education. In the Nineteen-Sixties, many young people expressed...