1968 Retrospect: Credit Cards

According to the 1968 The World Book Year Book, “Bank Credit Card programs, despite a faltering start 10 years earlier, were flourishing in 1968.” Several new card programs joined the great credit race in 1968–most notably the Interbank Card group (later to become MasterCard). These new cards were introduced to compete with the successful Bank Americard (later to become Visa). In 1970, MasterCard was the industry leader. They remained in this position for about a decade until Visa’s innovative and aggressive marketing finally earned it the industry’s top spot.

In 1968, US credit card debt totalled $8 billion (in current dollars). As of January 2008, that total had ballooned to  $947 billion. For perspective, that is $8,094 per household. There’s nothing more American than crushing debt, right? Well, gotta run. I’m just about up to the pay window at McDonalds and I need to find my Visa card.

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1968 Retrospect: Dentistry

According to the 1968 Year Book by The World Book, “A leading dental research scientist predicted in 1968 that tooth decay may be preventable in less than 10 years. Dr. Seymour J. Kreshover, director of the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) in Bethesda, MD, made the prediction on the basis of successful work done at the institute in pinpointing the organism of decay.”

Well, this prediction was way off. There have certainly been improvements in dental health, but I don’t think we can say that we are anywhere near preventing tooth decay.

In 2002, clinical trials began on a genetically modified mouthwash that should stop tooth decay. The mouthwash is squirted onto the teeth in a 5-minute process. The treatment is expected to last for a “considerable time.” The most recent information I could find indicates that the trials are moving along very cautiously because of FDA concerns. You see, this treatment permanently replaces the bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities with another bacteria. Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to proceed cautiously when you are talking about permanently altering your body’s chemistry!

1968 Retrospect: Fashion

According to The World Book 1968 Year Book, “Fashion was stripped of its dictatorial powers in 1968 by a revolutionary assertion of individuality.” After seeing some of the associated pictures, I’m thinking that the “dictatorial powers” should have been quickly reasserted.

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Okay, this isn’t actually all that bad, but what are these four ladies doing? Whatever it is, I think it is illegal in about 17 states.

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I’m not typically in favor of the federal government telling us what to do. However, I believe that I could stand behind a federal law banning a guy from dressing like this. At the very least, he should have his Man Club membership revoked.

1968 Retrospect: A Recurring Post

I was digging around in our storage shed and ran across some old encyclopedia year books produced by The World Book. (Do they even make these things anymore?) I’ve got books that cover years 1966 through 1970.

I was thumbing through the books and found myself fascinated with them. The perspective on events is often different immediately after they occur as opposed to 40 years later.

So, I have decided on having a recurring post throughout this year called 1968 Retrospect. I will try to find unique information and perspectives that you may not find anywhere else.

I hope you enjoy it.