Apush notes chapter 17

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Unformatted text preview: it-ins. *The 1950s: Comfort, Consumerism & Conformity* - First of all, the 1950s were (for most) an era of unprecedented prosperity and expansion. More specifically: The Postwar Economic Boom: Increasing output & increasing demand – it really was that simple. Economist Galbraith called it the “affluent society” – productivity increased, people wanted more stuff, and they used consumer credit to keep buying, which caused profits (and paychecks) to go up, spurring more consumerism, and so on. Per capita real income (adjusted for inflation) jumped up, as did standard of living (for most). The Baby Boom: The baby boom was actually both a cause and effect of the new prosperity, as the new population generated new needs for services, esp. in the three industries that expanded most – construction, cars, and defense (well maybe not that). Housing & Highway Boom: The GI mortgages and Federal Housing Administration insurance led to an explosion in home building and buying – prefabricated suburbia. Tons of new highways were built, which also speed up the process of suburbanization. 235 Military Spending: The other big reason for the economic boom was military spending, which also helped advance the electronics industry. Consolidation & Conglomerate Mergers: Due to the new technologies, industry ownership became increasingly concentrated as only the big companies had the $ to buy the new stuff. Conglomerate mergers (when unrelated industries join together to stabilize markets) became increasingly common. Even agriculture became dominated by big, mechanized farm companies – no more family farms, fewer tenant farmers. Labor Merger: Finally the AFL and CIO joined back up again, but union membership still didn’t increase all that much, probably b/c most workers were doing quite well. Environmental Costs – We screwed up the environment by dumping waste everywhere and spraying DDT (Rachel Carson, Silent Spring). We also wasted a lot of stuff. Sound familiar? - As for 1950s culture, here are some of the main themes: Conformity: The rat-race, status seeking suburbia, materialism…basically the same as suburbia now only people had st...
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2014 for the course APUSH AP United taught by Professor Orban during the Fall '10 term at Harrison High School, Harrison.

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