Economic Tendencies in the United States: Aspects of Pre-War and Post-War Changes

By Frederick C. Mills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
Other Economic Changes, 1922- 1929

THE first phase of the economic era which was ushered in by the World War ended, for the United States, in 1921. The next phase, falling between 1922 and 1929, was a period of prosperity, marked by increasing industrial productivity, rising living standards, generally advancing wages and rapidly increasing profits. The preceding chapters have described changes in production and prices occurring during this period. It remains to consider movements in certain factors which in part conditioned, in part reflected, the changes already discussed.

A detailed treatment of the complex economic movements of this period is not here possible. The discussion must be restricted to four or five elements of dominant importance. We shall consider, in turn, changes in total population and shifts in industrial employment, alterations in the volume and cost of capital and credit, movements of foreign trade, and changes in the aggregate values of the contributions of various productive agents and in their shares in the national income. Reference will be made throughout to the production and price movements already considered, and to the conditions and tendencies prevailing during the pre-war period discussed in earlier chapters.


POPULATION CHANGES AND INDUSTRIAL DISPLACEMENT

Movements of population and of certain related series are defined by measurements in the following table. The original series are plotted, for the post-war years, in Figure 84.

One of the most important of post-war developments has been a slowing up in the rate of increase of population. The data1 indicate

____________________
1
The measurements for the recent period relate to annual estimates of the population of continental United States made by P. K. Whelpton of The Scripps Foundation. (See "Trends in Population Increase and Distribution during 1920-30", American Journal of Sociology, May, 1931, p. 867.) The series is based upon census tabulations for 1920 and 1930, and upon statistics of births, deaths and migration for inter-censal years. The general trend is doubtless well reflected in these estimates, but year-to-year fluctuations in the actual population may not be

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