Video appunto: Standards of living after World War II
During World War the Labour government tried to beat the "five giants on the road of reconstruction", for example Poverty, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness. The economist Sir William Beveridge used this image in his famous report of 1942 on health, employment and social security (the immensely popular Beveridge Report) on which the "Welfare State" was to be based.
In this report he proposed a system of national insurance to protect everyone from the cradle to the grave. After the war, the Welfare State took Britain well enough through the difficult post-war transformations and continued for another generation or more, till the late 1970s, successfully balancing innovation with stability.
From 1950 onward, Britain witnessed a 20-year boom, during which the standard of living rose considerably. With secure jobs, good wages, smaller families and many more women working, families were able to buy more consumer goods and take holidays abroad. New shopping centres and supermarkets changed people's shopping habits. Cities also changed, as tower blocks of flats were built, and motorways cut across the countryside. Many of the most striking features of post-war Britain reflected the tastes of the young: for the first time there were working-class adolescents who could spend a lot of money on their own pleasure. The result was both a distinctive culture and the set of a rise of a special market for them. The young had particular marked tastes on clothes and music which came to be expressions of a group belonging; therefore, a lot of fashion products were made by the market only for the young generation, often initiating what was popular in the USA.
American actor James Dean optimized the rebellion of 1950s teenagers and many of them modeled themselves after him. After his violent death, a care accident at the age of twenty-four, James Dean with his lifestyle was transformed into a cult object.