Is the 60’s and 70’s rock lifestyle to be blamed for current US debt?


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There must be some kind of way outta here

Said the joker to the thief

There’s too much confusion

I can’t get no relief

Businessmen, they drink my wine

Plowman dig my earth

None were level on the mind

Nobody up at his word

Hey, hey”

……………………. All Along the Watchtower.

A pretty tough man, pretty tough! There ain’t no words to describe the blast, that happened in the decades of 60s and 70s. A new wave of culture that redefined the forms of Arts, Science, Philosophy, Music, and anything you name!

It was a movement! The mass upheaval of a chaotic situation that questioned rules, peace, war, and most notably, love!

But it was this Rock and Roll amongst all, that brought significant changes to how the world worked, such as musical and artistic acts like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, and so and so, came into the picture.

The time was the high heat of the 1960s and 1970s. The World Wars are over. Big politicians and diplomats were busy fighting the unnecessary cold war! And, in the middle of nowhere, popped a mushroom. Large enough to shed everything that came it’s a way!

This mushroom took the shape of a different dimension of thoughts and actions. This was the rock lifestyle of the 60s and 70s. The hippie age. The age where music and drugs wiped the streets. The age where people loved to dance to the end of love. And an age, where the last thing the youths cared about was money.
It was an age of realization, spiritualism, psychedelics, opening the doors of perception, intelligence, and intellectualism!

But they lost track! As per the words of Karl Hyde’s song, Born Slippery, the hippies had chemicals grown so close to them, that they forgot the fact, that this world still finds solace in worldly and materialistic objects!

And, that’s exactly when the whole thing went wrong, economically. The effect of which we are still bearing, enormously. It is the current US debt. But, will it be ethical to blame the culture of the 60s and 70s solely for today’s American debt?

Let’s evaluate.

Understanding the Baby Boomers- the initiators of the hippie movement:

Am I missing out on anything? The Silent Generation or the Lost Generation or something like that? No, I guess not. For they have their share already. The lost generation got washed away by the start of World War II. This generation was followed by the Silent Generation. Both these generations witnessed the 2 great world wars, and both succumbed to the great depression of the roaring 20s.

Obviously, we can never erase scars, and the effects the world wars had on the economy is still reflected. Believe it or not, it’s more or less like the butterfly effect, where one event results in an effect, that triggers several other series of events.

These continuous events created by the age of depression, the world wars, and the start of the cold wars, led to an amalgamation of frustration among the youth of the late 50s and early 60s. They strive to cut loose the social chains of rules, regulation, controlled speech, and all! And, these young fellows were the baby boomers! They just wanted to break on through to the other side!

Most of the baby boomers’ parents were servicemen, soldiers, army men, law-abiders, and definitely were on the stricter side. As far as we have heard, the silent generation was busy building wealth and securing a systematic future! This generation wanted peace with the help of civilization, family ethics, and rules.

But their children, the baby boomers, felt suffocated as the Cold War was prevalent both in the country and in the house. This suffocation led to a big blow out! And, that’s what turned them into hippies! Hippie might sound like a mellow word, but this word really broke through that time I tell you.

Examples include Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Hunter. S. Thompson, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and all!!

The England side included Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Black Sabbath, Marc Bolan, and this could just be endless if I keep on going, and if you keep on reading!

So, the point is, these kids wanted a great and good ol’ party time. They saw enough of suppression, and rock and roll just acted as a sedative and a stimulant at the same time. If not anything, at least this ‘music-and-culture’ spoke of freedom, spoke of love, and spoke of happy memories, that brought rain into the then dry world! Even if the rain was ‘acid’!

Understanding Generation X, the punk, and the economic breakdown that followed:

The rock and roll craze was about to collapse, as substance abuse, debt, relationship chaos, and a feeling of guilt started to cover the baby boomers. It was now time for their kids to question the past and answer for their mistakes. Many rock stars of that era suffered depression, isolation, ill financial health, and a collapsing burden of fame.

Club 27 took place, as many influential and promising figures started to fade away at very young ages! In the meantime, the Vietnam war ended and the soldiers returned home. There were memories of Woodstock, and the storm of the hippie wave was about to go silent.

It was time for the hippies’ kids to take charge of this world! These kids came out more charged up. More metal headed and punk souled than their ancestors. Loved to experiment with everything available.

They started to change the face of the rock lifestyle into something more intense and robust. Notable genres and artists that ruled the culture and lifestyle of this era include Punk, Glam, Pop, Techno, Shoegazing, The Sex Pistols, The Smiths, heavy metal, death metal, Indie, The Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Nirvana, and all!

Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it

You play the guitar on the MTV

That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it

Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it

Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb

Maybe get a blister on your little finger

Maybe you get a blister on your thumb

We got to install microwave ovens custom kitchen deliveries

We’ve got to move these refrigerators, we gotta move these color TV’s

See the little faggot with the earring and the make up

Yeah buddy that’s his own hair

That little faggot got his own jet airplane

That little faggot he’s a millionaire”

………………….. The Dire Straits, Money for Nothing.

The hedonistic mottos of this age, that preferred luxury, pleasure, happiness, ecstasy, and courtship gave economy, savings, wealth, and investments the least importance. This period had elongated nights that saw gangsta rap, discs, and pubs taking up most of the education!

The hippie movement continued but in a whole new different shape and size. And this was when Credit Cards started to rule the market. It increased the buying power of people with reckless money habits.

Then came the housing crisis:

The 1987 Tax Reform Act and the Taxpayer’s Relief Act of 1997, made housing seem the only profitable investment, as tax deductions for interest amounts on consumer debts were cleared out. With little knowledge gathered on finance and economics in these two generations, people started to take out subprime mortgages at a huge rate.

Due to havoc and wrecked-up lifestyles that only a few people were successful at, many went through unemployment! Even notable figures and bands like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Doors, and other contemporary celebrities went through severe times of bankruptcy, social and rehab issues.

If at one part, something was rising (what became the golden age of modern music, science, arts, and spiritualism), then, on the other hand, the whole mass was falling down! The world was losing its balance!

And, haphazard financial decisions just occupied the minds of young adults. An act of desperation, maybe! It’s the first decade of the 2000s and big financial institutions like Layman Brothers, for instance, went underwater.

Entering the current national debt scenario:

So, here we are today. As our past ancestors did little financial planning and wealth building, we have only learned to make amends with debts.

We rely on credit cards, loans, and secured debts, for making our financial grounds independent. Doing Savings has never quite been the prime priority of the American Dream or the San Francisco acid wave!

One domino that fell down in the 60s and 70s, has been continuously pushing the dominoes coming in line, one by one. Today the USA holds the majority of the global debt! Nearly $20 trillion of global government debt. Where do the psychedelic dreams are when the economy is concerned?

All seem to be a big misfit.

  • We really don’t know what reasons are hiding in the central eye of this economic deficit we are facing. Is it the poverty of the world wars?
  • Is it the total abandonment of money and commerce during the rock n’ roll era?
  • Is it too much substance abuse, con, and gang activity that funneled the enormous national debt?
  • Or is it the pointless blaming one generation does on the other?

The answers from the past do reflect the collapse of this economy. So many things are still left to be pointed out in this post!

But all I can say is, history repeats itself.

And it is up to us, Millennials and Generation Z, to fight for our country’s economy. We need to be the sensible game changers our forefathers fought for. Even though many failed to cope with the rush back then, still many were able to show us a bright future made of love and peace.

I believe if only we can just straighten up our personal finances a bit, then all problems are solved, and we will flourish as a supreme civilization!

Master the art of moderation and be debt-free my fellow current American generation!

“When I’m counting up my demons

Saw there was one for every day

With the good ones on my shoulder

I drove the other ones away

If you ever feel neglected

If you think all is lost

I’ll be counting up my demons yeah

Hoping everything’s not lost

When you thought that it was over

You could feel it all around

Everybody’s out to get you

Don’t you let it drag you down”

……………………………………….  Everything’s not lost, Coldplay.

Below is a table showing the rise of Gross Public Debt, from the fiscal year 1950, till the present 2018, at a 5 years gap:

Fiscal Year Gross Public Debt
1950 $256.85 billion
1955 $274.37 billion
1960 $290.53 billion
1965 $322.32 billion
1970 $380.92 billion
1975 $541.93 billion
1980 $909.04 billion
1985 $1.8 trillion
1990 $3.2 trillion
1995 $4.9 trillion
2000 $5.6 trillion
2005 $7.9 trillion
2010 $13.5 trillion
2015 $18.12 trillion
2018 $21.46 trillion