History Of The United States
In the 1950s, the United States of America lived on the fruits of an Affluent Society that was created by the foreign and domestic policies. The World War II ended in the year 1945 after the US used two atomic bombs against the Nagasaki and Hiroshima cities in Japan. The bombing led to the long-awaited surrender of Japan, and the post-war and cold war era was born. In the 1950s, the world experienced a post-World War II peaceful period especially after the Korean War came to an end. Nations of the world were able to rebuild their social, political and economic environments. The era was also a period of fear as a result of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, the decade faced an introduction of internal and foreign policy interventions that America had to counter for years. These policies led to a distortion of the US economy such that there was an imbalance in the society.
The United States lived on the fruits of an Affluent Society. An affluent community is an atmosphere created by immorality and unassailability in the US. John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard University economist, warned the American government an Affluent Society was in existence whereby the demand of wants was influenced by the process that developed it. He termed such a society as unsustainable, abnormal and immoral. The society was characterized by high growth rate and god performance of the private sector and declining growth rate and poor performance of the public sector. The economy slowly plunged into a capitalism system where resources were privately owned, and the poor were exploited for profits making.
The affluence was manifested through increased investment in the private ventures and a decline in investment in public schools, hospitals, parks and other public services. There was the growing prosperity of the high-class society and increasing poverty among the low-class. Besides, there was the high rate of income inequality whereby, according to Zinn, ninety-nine percent of the wealth in the country was controlled by only one percent of the population. The small group worked hard to control the economy of the country through oppression and exploitation. A majority of the people hoped that the constitution would keep the promise of creating an equal society, but the law was designed and control by the wealth and their allies. Madison and his colleges began a pretense to show that the government was for the people through a slogan “We the people”. The behavior by the government led to a situation where the minority communities lived on empty promises of success.
The systems in the country worked towards separating people according to their races. Discrimination of some races was accelerated by the expansion of the opportunities in the county. The discrimination of the black race in the US was supported and advocated for by the Jim Crow laws. The African American had been struggling with exclusion from participating in importance economic activities. The non-whites suffered racial exclusion from skilled jobs and were concentrated in the manual labor sectors in production. For example, in 1950, only twelve percent of the educated black were employed in offices and had white-collar jobs. The civil activists only made promises of progress to the blacks, but nothing was achieved with rebellion.
Women in the United States lost their jobs with the rise of the suburban areas. During the inter-war period, many women worked in the textile industries, and during the Second World War, many transferred to the war based industries. After the war, the manufacturers shifted towards production of essential consumer goods. The unemployed women, after 1945, had to stay at home as housewives. In 1955, there was an increase in the number of waged women. The men were the breadwinners in the families while the female workers were part-time employees who support their suburban families. Married couples later participated in the family life whereby the share all the activities such as household chores, consumption, leisure and sexual activities.
The war in 1945 and the development of suburban areas led to the emergence of a new consumer culture in the United States of America. The Affluent society defined a new consumer culture and ways of people interaction in the country. In the 1950s, the entertainment industry gained popularity with the spread of the television technology in the country. The stations used waves to transmit videos and images to the viewers. In 1955, the technology had spread such that two-thirds of the household population owned television sets. There were varieties of comic shows such as the Super Man show and other romantic dramas.
Another culture that emerged was the consumption of the leather jackets by the teenagers. This increased consumption resulted to the booming of the leather and livestock industries. Music tradition arose among the youth where the rock ‘n’ roll music gained popularity. The music defied the traditional middle-class lifestyle that used sexually provocative and explicit dances. The culture began with the black population and later spread to the white, as exhibited by Elvis Presley engagement in rock and roll.
Affluent Society caused division of the population into three; the wealthy, the middle class and the poor people. The middle-class society was taxed to meet the demands of the poor white population. In schools, the rich and the poor did not interact. There were schools for the black poor people and schools for the wealthy families. The housing sector was run by both the private and government developers. The private sector constructed suburban houses for the middle class and the destitute society. Later, the white neglected the old suburbs and cities and went to live in modern cities and towns.
In the 1950s and 1970s, the was a significant increase in suburbanization where more than seven million whites move to the suburban while more than one million blacks migrated to the northern parts of the US thus increasing the population in ghettos. The American sugar companies pushed coffee and tobacco farmers out of their tracks of land to expand their businesses. The farmers and blacks migration resulted in an increase in the rate of unemployment and crime in the country.
In conclusion, America, ‘The Affluent Society’ was defined by domestic and foreign policies that created a chaotic society of inequalities. The US and the Soviet Union were responsible for the tension that distorted many economies in the world. The black population in America was treated poorly through segregation by the citizens and the constitution. The end of the cold war between the two superpowers led to significant reforms in America, and many policies were abolished.