At a time when Nordic welfare institutions had been developing in a fairly stable and continuous manner, Western societies again faced a breaking point in societal development. As with the two World Wars, many of the discontinuities associated with the 1970s are well known. Usually the two so-called ‘oil crises’ are both symbolically and concretely referred to as a break in stable economic growth and the progress of modern societies. But the challenges of the 1970s were more complex than suddenly rising oil prices. The simultaneous rise in unemployment and inflation, suggested that old ways of understanding the economic and social order were no longer valid. Again, as after the Wars, new economic and political ideas emerged internationally, and for a while there was uncertainty about the direction societal development would take.