During the 1920’s, the rise of mass culture influenced beliefs, ideas, and beliefs of the American society. Many historians have called this period the “second industrial revolutions.” Technological innovations made it possible to increase industrial output without expanding the labor force. Ideas like electricity replaced steam as the main power source making it possible to replace old machinery with more efficient and flexible electric machinery. Modern mass-production techniques like machine tools, railroads, iron and steel were increasingly applied to new consumer goods. Products like automobiles, radios, washing machines, and telephones permitted firms to m to make large profits, while keeping prices affordable.
With more efficient management, greater mechanization, intensive product research, the consumer based industries were able to double industrial production in the early 20th century. The extraordinary new industry of automobiles had boomed in less than half a century. During the 1920’s, America’s car industry was making about 85% of the world’s passenger cars. By 1929, the car industry was the most productive in the United States. In that year, one out of five people had a car in America seeing that both cars and roads were being mass produced.
Welfare capitalism became a key part of corporate strategy in the 1920’s. Large corporations started anti-union campaigns called “The American Plan” as an alternative to trade unionism and the class opposition associated with European labor relations. Campaign leaders called for the open shop, which meant that no employees should feel compelled to join a union. This was basically stating that union members were not hireable. There were many failures in the economy including the “American Plan” during the 1920’s. Their failure to distribute gains in productivity more equally, in the long run, help set the stage for the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
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