Consumerism is defined as the increased spending on luxurious goods, homes and food. This happened right away following the last part of World War II. Financial depression had taken place throughout the war. The end of the war saw the country improve its consumption rates due to increased job opportunities, high wages and high spending power. Thus, consumers had enough money to purchase goods as well as homes from the sellers. The comeback of military from the battle led to population increase. Scores of young men settled down. Population growth took place because many soldier and young men in the community got married. The accessibility of vacancies in financial system reinforced activities of child bearing. Thus, the country had to discover new ways to maintain market stability. This essay discusses emergence of American consumerism and activities hitherto.
In this section, the essay concentrates on the theory of demand and supply, factors that contributed to consumerism, improved market economy and consumer purchases. Each of these factors of economic growth will be discussed in separate sections to ascertain their contribution to the rise of consumerism. America was an active player in the warfare. Thus, they lost a lot of property and assets to war. This was the time to re-establish their economy and infrastructural mechanism. These economic aspects would see the thriving of a market driven economy. America adopted laws that would help solve the situation like G.I bill. These laws were intended at giving consumers the right to own homes. Thus, the essay expounds on these issues into details.
Historical artifacts prevalent today that shows the development made during this period are still intact. Some of the print media and advertisement done during this period clearly shows the state of the society. The inventive historical evidence is the assembly of Northgate Shopping Center. The establishment of retail market after the war aided the community shop buy and sells their foodstuffs. At the doorway is a totem pole used as a symbol or sign of shopping precinct. This was an advertisement tactic utilized during this period. The pole was fifty nine foots long hence visible from a distance. The mall housed a supermarket, shopping multipart and countrywide bank of commerce among many other supplies. Thus, clients moved into the shopping center to purchase supplies and services. This insinuates that the community was affluent and their consumption behavior instigated the establishing and restructuring of the mall. This is one among many other buildings built during post-war. A totem pole signified community wealth that was as a result of economic activities (Sivulka 35). The carving of the poles resumed after the struggle.
The production and carving of these poles went down at some stage in the year 1940’s. This is because natives were actively occupied by the activities of war. Its presence symbolized the resurgence of the trade and industry activities as well as peace in the society. In addition, the symbolic meaning of the pole denoted cultural heritage and family lineage of native communities living in the coastal and island regions in North America. Displaying of the poles in the open signified that the population was at peace. Images inscribed on the poles included pictures of community heroes, animals and environment. This was one way of preserving traditions practices and history of the people residing in the regions. It was also a show of pride and cultural endowment for a community. Furthermore, the pole would also attract passersby to shop from the outlet. 7-Eleven Corporate adopted the use of totem pole as its symbol. The value attached to the pole by the American population. The history behind this is that Americans and other communities attach their cultures to the pole. There are many features that represent the cultural artifacts ascribed in these poles (Sivulka 67). Seven eleven stores were making huge sales due to the application of this marketing tool. This symbol is still used by some of the branches up to day.
In addition, the fortune magazine featured industrial civilization in the country. This periodical was published in the year 1929 (Sivulka 67). This was the era that the United States market collapsed and great recession set in. There was need to encourage people and the community to work hard to restore their economic status. The magazine was written by economist hence provided good information and explanation of the market condition. Many people subscribed to get the magazine upon its printing. It featured information on production advertisement and commerce prospects. Thus, a huge number of followers and buyers facilitated continuity of the business. When the second war ended in the world, the magazine gained popularity amongst business people. This is because most advertisements were featured in especially for luxurious properties. It bridged the space amid the organization and its clients. Information gathered would be utilized in contacting sellers to deliver the goods upon payment (Ricci 160). Credit facilities and accessibility were greatly featured in the article. The growing population demanded credit facilities. Most of the credit given was based on loan of items. Therefore, household’s items were used as security for advance borrowed. Moreover, Beauty Parade by Peter Driben represents the true meaning of the consumption behavior of the community (David Klein). The magazine features women and feminine goods that make them look smart. These goods were in high demand as families grew. This means that the community demanded more of the luxurious products based on social classes. Food was in abundant and available at the local markets. In economic terms, increased demand in some products affects other substitute goods in the market. The supply of goods and services in the market is influenced by the level of demand. This insinuates that increased demand on clothing and beauty products led to improved market activities. The suppliers of these beauty products increased in number forcing the prices to go down. At the same time, Marlboro Man was applied in the advertisement of cigarette. The society demanded luxurious goods in the sense that cigarette is not a basic need (David Klein). It clearly portrays the affluent nature of the community. The smoking behavior led to the death of so many people. Despite these challenges, the brand dominated the market. It was branded as the number one product in the American market (Ricci 162). This gives an insight into what transpired to the increased consumption of luxurious goods.
The historical journey of advertisement media has transformed by a great deal. Technology and social media led to competition in sales of goods and services. Consumers access information that is essential in making purchases decisions in regard to certain products. With increased use of social media platforms, the society is able to communicate and share ideas with companies. This information is essential in the improvement of services provided to individuals as well as groups. Today, organization operating in the market should be more careful when dealing with consumers. The reason behind this is that consumers are able to influence prices and people (Botsman and Rogers 66). Through consumer’s comments in social media, an organization may suffer from reduced sales due to the negative image portrayed in the market.
Consumerism was characterized by excessive demand for cars, television, refrigerators, vacuum cleaner and washing machines. In the 1950’s, a total of 5.5 million stoves and 21.4 million cars were purchased by consumers. Furniture’s too were in high demand. The emergence of suburban society led to the increase in sales of products (David Klein). Advertisers took advantage of the new platforms to send their messages to consumers. Television shows on the other side offered entertainment to viewer. The change in life style is a clear picture that families were improving in terms of income and dependency ratio. Some of the services offered by advertisers included home improvement products. This involved furniture’s and kitchen appliances. Families were determined to acquire luxurious equipments that would see the society move to higher levels. Tupperware dominated the industry for kitchen wares and washing machines. Therefore, midwives would purchase these products from the nearest dealer to improve the state of their own houses (David Klein). New development in the construction industry intensified. This was triggered by the increased purchases of homes and houses.
Rental houses expanded around urban centers all over the country. To influence spending, the government strengthened its financial institution to provide credit. Government efforts to revive the economy were seen through the passing of G.I.Bill. This bill allowed veteran who participated in the war to access education. This was one of the strategies of assimilating these veterans into the society. In addition, it reduced the level of stress on these individuals hence able to continue with their lives. Management and engineering skills available in the market could not meet the current demand. This is the reason as to why the president encouraged veteran to acquire training in these field. At the completion of their studies, they would secure a place in the job market. At this time, businesses were experiencing labor shortage hence they paid good salaries to workers. Other countries in the region were yet to recover from the effects of the war.
The country also benefitted from oil exploration within its boundaries. This lowered the prices of oil hence reduced imports of energy (David Klein). Oil is a key driver of economic growth. In situations where oil is imported, the country runs the risk of fluctuation and economic instability. Energy is one of the most important products in the world that is essential for economic development. For countries where the cost of production and processing of oil is low, the economy demonstrates stability even during economic cycles. Depression and inflation is caused by the decrease and increased in prices respectively. For depression, the general price of goods in the country goes down. This continues for a period of time an action that lead the closure of businesses. Low economic activities denote reduced economic down turn as well as government revenues in terms of taxes. Infrastructural development or investment in capital projects by the state goes down. It leads to a situation known as economic stagnation. There are no progresses made in the economy in regards to capital accumulation.
Inflation is an economic phenomenon characterized by reduced purchases due to increase in prices. The commodity prices elevate above normal rate an action that renders commodities too expensive to afford (Peter Driben 32). Ordinary citizens end up sleeping hungry because they are unable to meet the cost of living. Companies on the other hand engage in retrenchment for some of the workers. The cost of operation is too high for the company to meet at the current situation. Thus, the best alternative action to undertake is to lay off some workers so that they can make profit to sustain the business in operation. The two phenomenons have some negative effects to the economy. First, government revenues are unable to meet the current expenditure. This results to external borrowing an action that is detrimental to a country. The available funds are committed into paying and meeting the recurrent expenditure. Furthermore, running projects are halted due to lack of funds to finance these activities.
President Eisenhower adopted president Franklin Roosevelt social programs and invested heavily in development projects. This offered opportunities to unskilled labor to render their services. The country’s budget was maintained within manageable levels. Taxes were reduced by a great deal during his reign in America. This encouraged spending and change of previous notion that spending would lead to poverty. During the war, American residents desist spending their money. This is because food was running out on them. The spending pattern oversaw the closing of many businesses and organization in the service industry. Furthermore, general unemployment set in forcing individuals to go into the street. Some people joined in the war against the Soviet Union. The fighters comprised of the young people in America as well as African who were transported into the battle field to reinforce the soldiers (Peter Driben 30). A good number of soldiers died at war while those who survived the ordeal returned home. Therefore, opportunities were to be created so that these people do not engage in crime or other unproductive activities.
There are many lessons that we can learn from these activities. The first lesson is attributed to the economic and social welfare. This involves government initiative to boost the economic welfare of the community. This led to provision of job opportunities and investment opportunities for the business people. In other words, there are many opportunities that were created by the state in the event it intervened through monetary and fiscal policy. The monetary policies involved the injection of money into the industry through financial institution. This helped small businesses thrive despite having challenges in coping with the economic hardship. Statistics shows that many businesses in the United States did well than their rivals in Germany and England. This shows how strong the economic policies that the government implemented aided the economy to withstand the economic downturn. Fiscal policies include the lowering of taxes for businesses and personal income (Peter Driben 35). Changing the social life for a community takes time and requires massive investment in terms of infrastructural development.
In conclusion, consumerism in the United States comes about as a result of the termination of the world war. A lot of money and huge investments made before the war begun; were destroyed during this period. Thus, some countries were grounded to the earth such as Germany. Moreover, Germany was a major player in the war hence channeled a lot of funds in the military and masonry equipments. This is the reason as to why it took a lot of time to rebuild its economy. America on the other side was quick to recover from the effects of the Great War. Consumers spending changed as the economy regain its power. Government played a big role in ensuring that the community easily accessed funds. Some of the laws passed and adopted by the states reinforced investors’ initiative to develop the economic system. Creditors dominated the market and helped people acquire properties such as homes and household goods. This was a move towards progressive development through strengthening the families. United States being the superpower, could not afford to have a weak economy. This is because they control other countries economic wise and political wise
Botsman, Rachel, and Roo Rogers. What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. New York: Harper Business, 2010. Print.
David Klein. “Ad Age Advertising Century: An Introduction | Special: The Advertising Century – AdAge.” Advertising Age – Advertising Agency & Marketing Industry News – AdAge. Advertising Age, 29 Mar. 1999. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. <http://adage.com/article/special-report-the-advertising-century/ad-age-advertising-century-introduction/140147/>.
Peter Driben. “B-24 From Naples Missing… Crew Presumed Dead.” Beauty Parade1 Mar. 1946: 22-44. Print.
Ricci, David M. “The Rise of Consumerism.” Good Citizenship in America 21.3 (2015): 137-169. Print.
Sivulka, Juliann. Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising. Princeton: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2009. Print.