Planning in the Post-World War II United States

Jonathan Levy


Like in all industrial societies, in the United States economic planning was a prominent political-economic ideal in the wake of World War II. Paying attention to the postwar decades, this article focuses on how and why private American industrial corporations appropriated the practice and rhetoric of planning, in the context of the outbreak of the Cold War. This corporate appropriation displaced debates about planning into a social and cultural register in the United States. Paradoxically, the outward-looking U.S. state accepted robust state planning regimes abroad even as the Cold War hampered the legitimacy of state-centered economic planning at home. The paradox helped set the stage for the global crisis of industrial societies after 1968 that brought the postwar era to a close and would ultimately undermine economic planning everywhere.


US; Corporate Planning; Walter Heller; Cold War

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1825-9618/11212


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