Undated portrait of President Harry S. Truman. As the following sources suggest, the contradictions of the Affluent Society defined the decade: unrivaled prosperity alongside crippling poverty, expanded opportunity alongside entrenched discrimination, and new liberating lifestyles alongside a stifling conformity. A new youth culture exploded in American popular culture. Both of these government organizations, which reinforced the standards followed by private lenders, refused to back bank mortgages in “redlined” neighborhoods. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018). By many measures, the public schools of the South became, ironically, the most integrated in the nation.15. They began to act up, act out, and draw attention to the fact that something wasn‟t quite right in America. Court decisions such as Green v. New Kent County (1968) and Alexander v. Holmes (1969) finally closed some of those loopholes, such as “freedom of choice” plans, to compel some measure of actual integration. In The Affluent Society, Galbraith addresses a major problem in American society—overconsumption of goods. Their infamously ambiguous order in 1955 (what came to be known as Brown II) that school districts desegregate “with all deliberate speed” was so vague and ineffectual that it left the actual business of desegregation in the hands of those who opposed it. The contradictions of the Affluent Society defined the decade: unrivaled prosperity alongside persistent poverty, expanded opportunity alongside entrenched discrimination, and new liberating lifestyles alongside a stifling conformity. The court found by a unanimous 9–0 vote that racial segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. By the 1960s some parts of the West were among the most important industrial and cultural centers of the nation in their own right Eisenhower’s popularity boosted Republicans across the country, leading them to majorities in both houses of Congress. Since then, the growth-driven, product-oriented economic framework developed by Smith and Ricardo amid pervasive poverty has no doubt become even more profoundly out of date in the post-industrial economy. Prosperity seemed to promise ever higher standards of living. Much discontent was channeled through the machine itself: advertisers sold rebellion no less than they sold baking soda. In most of the South, as well as the rest of the country, school integration did not occur on a wide scale until well after Brown. And yet, as Galbraith noted, the Affluent Society had fundamental flaws.
The Jim Crow South tenaciously defended segregation and American blacks and other minorities everywhere suffered discrimination. More often than not the theology and ideology of these churches reinforced socially conservative views while simultaneously reinforcing congregants’ belief in economic individualism. Postwar economic prosperity and the creation of new suburban spaces inevitably shaped American politics. While the HOLC was a fairly short-lived New Deal agency, the influence of its security maps lived on in the FHA and Veterans Administration (VA), the latter of which dispensed G.I. The book includes Baudrillard's most organized discussion of mass media culture, the meaning of leisure and anomie in affluent society. While the bus boycott, Supreme Court rulings, and other civil rights activities signaled progress, church bombings, death threats, and stubborn legislators demonstrated the distance that still needed to be traveled. Discrimination and segregation continued, however, and activists would continue to push for fair housing practices. It is generally lively but in no way superficial, and deserves to be included on the reading lists of second- and third-year undergraduate courses on postwar British history. Montgomery’s Black population, under the leadership of local ministers and civil rights workers, formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and coordinated an organized boycott of the city’s buses. There was also a political calculus to Eisenhower’s position. The Clarks argued that Black children’s aesthetic and moral preference for white dolls demonstrated the pernicious effects and self-loathing produced by segregation. In the two decades after the end of World War II, the American economy witnessed massive and sustained growth that reshaped American culture through the abundance of consumer goods. Galbraith's phrase "conventional wisdom," a key concept introduced in The Affluent Society, has entered common parlance so pervasively that it is now used to describe a variety of concepts not necessarily related to economic theory. In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Mexican Americans—and all “classes”—were entitled to the “equal protection” articulated in the Fourteenth Amendment. Television was instantly popular, so much so that by early 1948 Newsweek reported that it was “catching on like a case of high-toned scarlet fever.”18 Indeed, between 1948 and 1955 close to two thirds of the nation’s households purchased a television set. Miller proposed to bar homosexuals from working with the ECA. ― John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society Marcuse insisted that industrial capitalism was in the process of ending inner contradictions which might once have moved society forward; it was developing “one-dimensional man”—the title of one of his books. They certainly possessed contradictions in some of their positions, but understood the need to appeal to the affluent center ground, as did New Labour so successfully some four decades later. 5. Between 1940 and 1950, suburban communities with more than ten thousand people grew 22.1 percent, and planned communities grew at an astonishing rate of 126.1 percent.4 As historian Lizabeth Cohen notes, these new suburbs “mushroomed in territorial size and the populations they harbored.”5 Between 1950 and 1970, America’s suburban population nearly doubled to seventy-four million. Books like Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (1946) were diligently studied by women who took their career as housewife as just that: a career, complete with all the demands and professional trappings of job development and training. Motor fuel consumption rose from some twenty-two million gallons in 1945 to around fifty-nine million gallons in 1958.7. Terms in this set (36) 1950's economic conditions/growth. Parks was not the first to protest the policy by staying seated, but she was the first around whom Montgomery activists rallied. The least secure, highest-risk neighborhoods for loans received a D grade and the color red. “The Affluent Society,” he said, was anything but. University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman became its president. How were the 1950s a period of consensus in both domestic policies and foreign affairs? A century of declining birth rates abruptly reversed. He contends that poverty is not the lack of material goods, but is a relation between people and a social construction and made by man. Via Library of Congress. Levittown in the early1950s. In 1968, fourteen years after Brown, some 80 percent of school-age Black southerners remained in schools that were 90 to 100 percent nonwhite. The economist's prose, lofty but still easily manageable, laid down the gauntlet for the post-cold war class struggle that was still far in the future in 1958. As a landmark moment in American history, Brown’s significance perhaps lies less in immediate tangible changes—which were slow, partial, and inseparable from a much longer chain of events—than in the idealism it expressed and the momentum it created. contradictions they were being taught, specifically that all people were created equal, yet stories about bus boycotts and riots at high schools told a different story. More than two thirds of television-owning households, for instance, watched popular shows such as I Love Lucy. Decades of African American–led litigation, local agitation against racial inequality, and liberal Supreme Court justices made Brown possible. In this unfinished correspondence and undated personal notes, Rosa Parks recounted living under segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, explained why she refused to surrender her seat on a city bus, and lamented the psychological toll exacted by Jim Crow. We live in a society where advertisers and marketers control our spending habits. The Affluent Society is a 1958 (4th edition revised 1984) book by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith.The book sought to clearly outline the manner in which the post–World War II United States was becoming wealthy in the private sector but remained poor in the public sector, lacking social and physical infrastructure, and perpetuating income disparities. This image shows how worries about desegregation were bound up with other concerns, such as the reach of communism and government power. As adults tried to come to grips with what might be causing this rise in EurLex-2. James T. Patterson and William W. Freehling, William Bradford Huie, “The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi,”. An Affluent Society? And while the struggle for Black inclusion had few victories before World War II, the war and the Double V campaign for victory against fascism abroad and racism at home, as well as the postwar economic boom led, to rising expectations for many African Americans. This year marks the 60th anniversary of John Kenneth Galbraith's celebrated book, The Affluent Society, which sparked much public discussion at the time of its publication about disparities between ever-increasing private wealth and what Galbraith claimed was an impoverished public sector lacking in social and physical infrastructure. Gravity. The Affluent Society (1958), John Kenneth Galbraith's most broadly influential book, stands out among works of economic analysis for its accessible writing style, which makes complex economic concepts and arguments understandable to the popular reader. When it comes to capitalism, Eula Biss is a skeptic. Just when many middle- and working-class white American families began their journey of upward mobility by moving to the suburbs with the help of government programs such as the FHA and the G.I. Flashcards. By the mid-1950s, an hour of primetime programming cost about $150,000 (about $1.5 million in today’s dollars) to produce. The most caustic critics of bureaucracy and of middle-class society were a young poets known as "Beats" They wrote harsh critiques of what they considered the sterility and conformity of American life, the meaninglessness of American politics, and that banality of popular culture In the affluent society, the rationale for the 'just suffering' of those who are not economically productive is gone. V. Gender and Culture in the Affluent Society, VI. And yet pockets of true believers kept alive the gospel of the free market. Documents 1. And yet, as a university professor and homeowner, she’s invested in the system. Chapter 24 “The Contradictions of the Affluent Society of the 1950s Outline:-Space-Age Corporate America-Spread of Suburbia in a Segregated Society o Tracked homes that grew outside of cities o Housed baby boom-The “Baby Boom” Comes of Age in Rock and Roll-The African-American Counterculture o Kind of Blue (1959)-The Artistic Avant Garde-Civil Rights Movement-Nixon-Kennedy … It's one thing for authors who are consultants or graphic designers to note the importance of life outside the ledger sheet, but it's quite another thing for an estimable economist to do the same thing. Galbraith asserts tha… Chapter 24 “The Contradictions of the Affluent Society of the 1950s Outline:-Space-Age Corporate America-Spread of Suburbia in a Segregated Society o Tracked homes that grew outside of cities o Housed baby boom-The “Baby Boom” Comes of Age in Rock and Roll-The African-American Counterculture o Kind of Blue (1959)-The Artistic Avant Garde-Civil Rights Movement-Nixon-Kennedy … In the economy of 150 years ago to claim that suffering was inevitable seemed fair, for it was the state of the masses. After years of economic depression, families were now wealthy enough to support larger families and had homes large enough to accommodate them, while women married younger and American culture celebrated the ideal of a large, insular family. In addition to replicating radio’s organizational structure, television also looked to radio for content. In it, Galbraith covers how the US economy has evolved since colonial times, and what modern developments mean. Bill, many African Americans and other racial minorities found themselves systematically shut out. Galbraith’s celebrated book examined America’s new post–World War II consumer economy and political culture. The need to appeal to as many people as possible promoted the production of noncontroversial shows aimed at the entire family. The proposal was defeated in the house by a 238–134 vote with a swing bloc of seventy-five conservative Republicans joining liberal Democrats voting against the plan.27 Eisenhower’s proposals in education and agriculture often suffered similar defeats. Learn. Women bore the brunt of this pressure, chided if they did not give enough of their time to the children—especially if it was because of a career—yet cautioned that spending too much time would lead to “Momism,” producing “sissy” boys who would be incapable of contributing to society and extremely susceptible to the communist threat. 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