During 1950, how were businesses and conformity are shown and viewed in the United States nation economy?give example on how buisnesses were run what kinds of buisness rose up during this time. how...

During 1950, how were businesses and conformity are shown and viewed in the United States nation economy?

give example on how buisnesses were run what kinds of buisness rose up during this time. how conformity is shown during this time at home, work, everyday life, society.

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Conformity was the watchword in the '50s, partly because of the experiences of so many Americans regimented by the military during the Second World War, partly by a sense of how America had achieved the victory.  Society put duty ahead of individual interest; the regimentation of industry was as thorough as in the military.

Television gave Americans a shared sense of experience and values.  Davy Crockett coonskin caps were almost a uniform, and the television hero always patriotic and selfless.  Shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver portrayed a world where everyone lived alike in the suburbs, everyone had the same values, and the "nuclear family" instead of the extended family of tradition was the main focus.  Problems could be solved easily by referring to parental authority, who were always wise and understanding.

In business, the war had led to management techniques more similar to the military model.  Managers were leaders, and the pressure on workers to conform to the image of the management was intense.  Blue-collar workers worked for the good of the company and to enjoy the rewards of the new consumer culture.  White-collar workers were expected to sacrifice their interests and time to the good of the corporation, and to conform to standards of personal appearence that led to the "grey flannel suit" era.

Businesses which produced and advertised consumer goods boomed, and technology was a major part of that.  The telephone company expanded dramatically, and continuing electrification (overseen by the federal Rural Electric Administration) brought the modernisation of refrigerators and televisions to the most remote areas.  The baby boom led to expansion in every imaginable consumer product for infants and young children.  Construction was probably the largest boom business, the affluence of postwar society leading to more families owning new homes than at any time in US history, and the massive subdivisions like Levittown spread all over the country.

In government, the Eisenhower victory led to a wide adoption by federal employees of golf and bow ties, since the new president liked them, and a further militarization of structure in government agencies and the businesses that interacted with them.  And, of course, the pressure to conform was given a foreboding boost by the fear of communism and the spectre of the McCarthy "witch-hunts."  The Cold War gave people another reason to close ranks, and a good reason to "stay in line."

Fathers all went to work, mothers all stayed home, girls played with dolls and boys all had short hair and played sports.  At least that was the public image, and if one were "different" there was assumed to be something wrong with them.  Psychology was not directed to fulfilling the potential of the individual, but in how best to "fit in."

Of course there was a lot of nonconformity, and discontent with the conformist-consumer model of society, but this was marginalised by the media of the day.  "Beatniks" and avant garde jazz were made fun of, and black people were almost invisible to the mainstream of America.  Comedian Jack Benny's house servant character, Roscoe, was the most visible black personality in the country.  This mass pressure to conform naturally led to a massive nonconformist movement in the late 1960s.


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