Consumerism in Post World War II Essay

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Consumerism in Post World War II After WWII why did the economy prosper and what role did consumerism play in the 1950s? After WWII many economists predicted a recession in the American economy. It is easy to do so when at the peak of post war unemployment in March 1946 2.7 million searched for work. In 1945 people were laid off from their jobs. However, “ in 1945 the US entered one of its longest, steadiest, periods of growth and prosperity” (Norton 829). How could this be? With many new developments affecting the United State’s social and economic behavior, the wealth of the nation burgeoned. It is the extreme wealth of this society which supports and creates consumerism, the “Americans’ [increased] appetite for goods…show more content…
Businesses need a “high level of economic security” in order to sustain maximum production (Galbraith 111). So the increase in the production was not to create more goods, although that resulted, but to secure more economic stability. The goods are secondary compared to the their “assured production means assured income for those who produce them” (Galbraith 114). This typical attitude towards production changes in the 1950s. Galbraith’s five ways in which production can be increased pertains to the 1950’s economy. His first method is to employ labor and capital more (Galbraith 119-120). In the 1950s industries started to invest more capital. In 1950 1.1 billion dollars of capital was invested by industries compared to 1.86 billion dollars in 1959 (Pate 669). Secondly, Galbraith mentions that labor and capital should be used in “the most advantageous combination, one with the other, and the two can be distributed to the greatest advantage, consumer tastes considered, between the production of various things and the rendering of various services” (Galbraith 120). The conglomerate mergers that took place in the 1950s exemplified this suggestion. A conglomerate joined companies in differing industries to combat instability in a particular market (Norton 831). The business corporation became an important part of the functioning of American life. Conglomerate firms represented the most prominent form of
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