The American golden age was a period after World War II in which the US economy was booming. New jobs were being created, and many people were being absorbed in the job market. This boom is attributed to the fact that the war destroyed industrial machinery of other nations, thereby making American to have an edge in the economic growth due to production monopoly. However, with time, other nations built their manufacturing capabilities and caught up with the US. Quintessentially, several factors such as the eruption of the Korean War, and Israel invasion by Egyptians, and the emergence of labor unions facilitated the abrupt end of the American golden age.
After World War II, Americans had better manufacturing capability than the rest of the nations whose industries were destroyed during the war. After the war, most nations began on a decade-long period of rebuilding their infrastructure. Markedly, the US was content with its global leadership and did not attempt to improve their capabilities, and this made other countries to catch up with it. Another reason that may have caused the abrupt halt to the golden age was the war between Egypt and Israel. Notably, Egypt had invaded Israel which led to several oil ships being sunk in the Ocean (Reich &Powers 99-119). Subsequently, the prices of oil shot up and inflation emerged which swiftly halted the boom in the American economy.
Korean War is also considered as a principal factor that made the American golden age to end brusquely. Noteworthy, the Second World War had just ended, and people were still recovering from the loss of their loved ones due to this war. They were beginning to adapt to their lives after the war. However, when the Korean War erupted, most American families were opposing the deployment of their soldiers to fight abroad. They saw no need of their brothers and sisters fighting again in any war (Donaldson 5-59). Thus, when the federal government insisted and deployed American soldiers, the populace became discouraged which lead to underproduction and consequently ending the golden age.
American organized labor was critical in ending the golden age albeit unconsciously. Imperatively, as the economy boomed in the mid-1950s, there was a growing demand for better pay from workers which led to the establishment of organized labor. According to Rosenfeld, this situation created a scarcity of workers as companies could not afford high pay for employees who had very low skills (696-703). The ramification for this was that there were not enough workers for production which made other countries to catch up with the US. Admittedly, the abrupt end of the golden age was detrimental to American consumers as it inhibited their ability to pay for mortgage rates, buy new cars, household appliances, or take a vacation.
In general, the US enjoyed a booming economy for two decades after the end of World War II. However, events after that made the economic prosperity to subdue swiftly. Notable factors that contributed to this situation were the reluctance of the US to expand its manufacturing capability, the Korean conflict, and the Egyptian invasion of Israelites. These factors had an ultimate consequence of making the golden age to halt abruptly. It is vital to note that the situation was damaging to the American consumers as they had to change their spending habits to survive in the tough economic times that succeeded the golden age.
Donaldson, Gary A. America at War Since 1945: Politics and Diplomacy in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2016.
Reich, Bernard, and Shannon Powers. "The United States and Israel." The Contemporary Middle East. Routledge, 2018. 99-119.
Rosenfeld, Jake. "Little labor: how union decline is changing the American landscape." The Inequality Reader. Routledge, 2018. 696-703.
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