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Economics in the 1950s

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    Social Conditions

    • Baby boomers were growing up at this time, which makes the period socially eventful. Coming from the World War II, unemployment and inflation were relatively down. Many women kept their jobs and continued with their chosen careers, despite the war closure. According to the president's economic report from 1950 to 1959 alone, the female employment rate rose 18 percent. The standard of living gradually picked up, so that more families were able to procure cars and houses. This was also the time when the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration started providing home financing, making property ownership easier. Education also moved forward. The cost of college became more reasonable because of rising living standards.

    Entertainment and Arts

    • During the 1950s, the television started its climb to being a force in mass culture as well as in communication, introducing iconic shows such as "Superman," "The Mickey Mouse Club" and "Twilight Zone." The power of the medium was demonstrated by TV news -- actual pictures of events built the viewing public's awareness of what was happening in the country. The '50s were the golden years of rock and roll; artists such as Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets released records that became hits all over the world. The popularity of television entertainment overshadowed literature. Notable books published during the decade included "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger, and "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit," by Sloan Wilson.

    Political Concerns

    • The political arena of the '50s revolved in the issue of communism. Although all social and economic movements played a vital role in the 1950s political arena, the primary theme appeared to be the country's call for sustained domination in the industrialized world. Thus, national security issues became a main concern of the public. This was where the government based its policy formation in assuring the public that the country would remain purely democratic. It was also during the '50s, in the Korean War, when President Harry Truman committed American armed forces but kept the war limited to steer clear of a major conflict with China and the Soviet Union. In the domestic political stage, the loyalty program of Truman changed state priorities by amplifying security issues. After Dwight Eisenhower was elected president in 1952, he proposed a development of an atomic energy agency to oversee peaceful development of nuclear energy. As a whole, the '50s political era was not stable.

    Financial Stability

    • There were no major problems or advance in the country's finances during the decade. The U.S. financial status in the '50s slowly moved up, which led to a stronger economy during the 1960s. Consumer prices increased extensively, however, fed by growing consumer demand for goods and credit. During the latter half of the decade, GNP rose significantly.

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