The End Of Affluence Essay Research Paper — страница 3

  • Просмотров 433
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 23

railroad technology had become efficient and standardized. During the 1850?s about twenty one thousand miles of track were laid. Complete systems were built that connected the major cities along the eastern seaboard from north to south and in turn, these same eastern cities to the developing regions of the interior including the old northwest around the great lakes. After the Civil War, the railroads expanded more rapidly. By the mid 1870?s, there was more than twice as much track laid in the United States as there had been in 1860, reaching coast to coast. Railroad companies were now the largest business concerns in the nation, importing both capital and labor from Europe, and creating enormous demand from capital goods, notably iron rails. In the 1880?s, about seventy five

thousand miles of railroad tracks were laid. The carrying capacity of the trains had also increased enormously doubling between 1860 and 1890. The telegraph spread rapidly, and by the 1880?s a merchant could order goods instantaneously and receive them almost anywhere within a week. By 1890, only 13 percent of the American population was not reachable by rail or steamship. In 1858, it cost 37 cents a bushel to ship wheat by rail from Chicago to New York. By 1870, the cost had fallen to 26 cents a bushel, and by 1890 it was 14 cents a bushel. In 1880 when Britain had about 16000 miles of track, America had more than 90,000 miles connecting an entire continent and one and a half times as many people. With a population 50 percent as large as Germany?s and a far higher income per

person, Americans consumed three to four times as much in goods and services as the Germans did. From a colony of only about two million people, America had become an economic giant nearly 100 million strong. America, of course, did not and could not maintain their dominance. We lost some of our edge and some nations actually gave us a huge challenge in becoming the economic leaders. Let?s take a look at actually what we lost. During the 1950?s and 1960?s the United States assumed we were above all others. Our society felt superior, and that we led and everyone else followed. We had the best goods and services, benefits, health care, and the least amount of poverty. We were closed minded to the fact that other nations would have the same or better marketplaces than us. In the

early 1900?s the United States had the largest amount of iron ore reserves in the world, but by the 1960?s we owned only a fraction of it. Also, during those early years the automobile industry had 33% of the world exports and by the 1970?s our total exports fell to 18%. Foreign producers took over our entire electronics industry. We lost the dominance of worldwide exports when at one time we over powered the market and purchased cheap natural resources. When Japan started to successfully export their goods and services, Americans thought it was because of their low wages. However, even when there was an increase in wages Japan still produced and sold more than the United States. During the post war in 1973, Japans productivity growth did not fall nearly as low as the United

States. Competition forced businesses to invest more and keep prices lower. IBM only had 2,500 competitors in 1965. Competitors grew to a high level of 50,000 in 1992. Countries like Mexico, India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand jumped on the ban-wagon of mass-production. Because of the reduction of trade barriers, free trade was widely established and the United States could no longer monopolize the market and trade. As you read labels and tags most goods and services are made in Japan or china. Over the years the U. S. became a net importer of many materials and natural resources. As times changed raw materials and certain metals were being replaced by more sophisticated productions. Most Metals and glass products were replaced with different types of plastics. Workers were

being replaced by machines, but the workers that held on to their jobs could only work part time so benefits would not have to be distributed. Jobs were scarce, people with skills and education stood little chance of becoming employed. Standards of living dropped, unemployment grew, and poverty struck dramatically. Plain and simple, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. These are conditions that we as a nation created and there is no way of undoing what we started. However, Americans are optimists. We are taught to be optimistic about everything. We are indoctrinated in the notion things will always get better. There is nothing the American people cannot overcome. We adopt sayings that reflect this: ?We have nothing to fear but fear itself,? ?the power of positive