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

By Frederick C. Mills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
A Summary: Some Attributes of the Post-War Decade

THE era of post-war expansion came to an abrupt end with the dramatic stock market collapse of 1929, a collapse which was a phase of a world-wide recession. It is with a perspective set by the depression which followed that we have reviewed the events of this period. The treatment has been restricted to certain limited aspects of a many-sided growth. No attempt has been made to develop a simple theme, or to interpret these complex events in terms of one or two factors alone, We have followed certain threads of change, and have defined as accurately as possible some of the tendencies prevailing during a period which, in retrospect, has already taken on some of the aspects of a golden age. This has been done with the conviction that such definition of tendencies is not only prerequisite to an attack upon the complicated problems raised by the depression itself, but is, as well, essential to a systematic charting of the course of our economic development during the longer future that lies beyond the depression.

There remains the task of preparing a brief résumé of certain of the conditions and tendencies which have been separately treated in the detailed presentation.

Retardation of Population Growth . In any general survey of the economic trends of a period, the growth of population furnishes a yard-stick for the appraisal of changes in other economic elements. Changes in the pace of population growth occur slowly and inconspicuously. The forces that bring them about are often obscure, and difficult to define. Yet such changes affect economic processes in innumerable ways. In their wide ramifications they may determine the tone of a whole epoch.

One of the least dramatic and yet one of the most profound of the differences between the pre-war and post-war eras in the United

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