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Economic History - Essay Example

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Order 671413 Name Macro & Micro Economics Economic History The years leading up to World War I were to become a major factor in how the United States treated foreigners that were residing within its borders when the war started and afterwards. Immigrants who had recently flooded into the country when the war started on April 6, 1917 were immediately brought under suspicion…
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Economic History Essay
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Economic History

Download file to see previous pages... (McElroy, 2002) The recession of 1920-21 declined as unemployment jumped from 4 percent in the beginning of the year to 12 percent at the end of the year. The GDP plummeted 17 percent the same year. President Harding took severe measures in 1920-22 and cut the budget in half. Tax rates were also drastically cut for all income sectors. The national debt was cut by one third, as quoted by one economic historian, “Despite the severity of the contraction, the Fed did not move to use its powers to turn the money supplies around and fight the contraction.” Therefore, by the summer of 1921 visible signs of recovery began to show. Unemployment was back to 6.7 percent and down to 2.4 percent by 1923. (Mataconis, 2009). According to Slichter high wage practices were adopted in the 1920s due to the threat of labor trouble, employers being unwilling to reduce wages in comparison to wholesale pricing, and realizing how important morale and efficiency had become to labor. (Slichter, 2005). Labor trouble threats began to peak in 1920, and the six-years prior saw a double of membership in trade unions. Unionism had established itself in the Chicago Packing Plants, the US Steel Corporation and the Pennsylvania Railroad as well. Employers seemed to have the belief that labor was in danger of becoming radical. (Slitter, 2005). New methods were used in industry to attempt to make workers more efficient and contented. 1. Helping employees acquire property, 2. Helping employees acquire a “stake” in the companies which employed them. 3. Protecting them from arbitrary treatment. 4. Rewarding continuous service with the company. 5. Giving them advancement opportunities and more responsibility. 6. Offering them security. These things resulted in a rise of around 11 percent in hourly wages for factory workers between 1920 and 1925. Thus, wage earners began to save money, which was encouraged by businessmen. (Slichter, 2005). The 1920s known as the “roaring twenties” gained its name from being pictured as a time of American prosperity and optimism. However, it is also seen as a time of cultural change, a decade of the Model T, $5 work days, airplanes, movies, and provocative dress. The nation shifted from urbanism to commercialism and brought with it prohibition, the Klu Klux Klan, strict immigration laws, and gangsters. Quoted by Jerrie Cheek from the Kennesaw University, “The powerful economy might of America from 1920 to October 1929 is frequently overlooked…the strength of America was generated and driven by its vast economic power.” (Cheek, 2005). The happening on October 1929 on a Tuesday, know as “black Tuesday” became the beginning of the Great Depression. Two months after the stock market crash stockholders had lost more than $40 billion dollars in investments. Economists and historians both believe that the economic downturn that showed up in early 1929 lead to the crash. The market did improve somewhat by the end of 1930; however, it was not enough to keep America from entering the Great Depression. (Kelley, 2012). By 1933 11,000 of America’s 25,000 banks had failed, and because deposits were uninsured, funds were simply lost. Banks, being unsure of the economy, stopped issuing new loans, which contributed to the situation. (The Great Depression, 2012). Since money became tight from fear, purchasing became less and less from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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