In the 1950’s right after world war 2 the golden age arose. People were finding jobs, with ease and different types of customs came about. People started watching T.V. as well as listening to music on the regular. The 1950’s was the period of the baby boom as many troops returned home and wanted to start families with their wives. To today the movies we watch the music we listen to and many events we see trace back to the golden age as it was a start of new trends and ways of living life. People became much more relaxed and no longer had to worry about supporting their families as the Depression was done and the threat of communism came down.
During the Golden Age of Capitalism in America even the President enjoyed some leisure time. At the end of WWII the standards of living was up, unemployment was low and the American GNP more than doubled. The population boomed leading suburban living to become the norm. Jack Straus, the chairman of the board of Macy’s, declared “Our ability to consume is endless. The luxuries of today are the necessities of tomorrow.” This became the thinking of the time. Citizens lavished in the new life style of ease that a growing economy could now provide for the average, working, middle class person.
Now where in the history of America has consumerism became widespread as in the 1950s. Not only in its breadth but also in depth as the very notion of freedom(something that symbolizes America) became intertwined with it. The 50’s was an era called the Golden Age of Capitalism, a period of unprecedented economic growth that benefited both the capitalists and workers, as result of higher wages. Economic prosperity led to a growing middle class, which demanded appliances and products that would enable them enjoy more leisure time and spend less in the kitchen or cleaning up the house. Inventions such as the dishwasher, washing machine and vacuum cleaners became household items. Even a reporter for House Beautiful Magazine asserted that the most potent weapon in the Cold War was “the freedom offered by washing machines and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, automobiles, and refrigerators.” The image above is an advertisement from the 1950’s and showed how unscrupulous the advertising was since Coke was advertised to kids, and also one of the selling points in the poster says “Boosts Personality!”
One of the most important elements of the economic growth in the beginning of the golden age sets back to the rise of residential construction and the spending on consumer goods. The erupt demand for housing, television sets, home appliances and cars, transpired from a population shift from the cities to the suburbs. As Foner has stated, “By 1960, suburban residents of single-family homes outnumbered urban dwellers and those living in rural areas.”
The film above illustrates the cultural differences from urban and suburban residents; alluding the viewer a cherry image of suburban life with its color motion, where as, depicting the urban life with black and white motion. It also portrays the consumer culture of the time, targeting young adults that derives for the demand of a new kind of marketing. Like the film stated, it was a “happy go spending world.” Shopping malls were created in their image, building in fountains, statues, restaurants and free standing stairways. The stores also included many banks, loan offices and rental plans.