Saturday, August 3, 2019
The Second World War (II) :: Essays Papers
The Second World War (II) Wars are good business. They create an immediate demand for a wide variety of materials needed by the government in order to fight the war. They create work opportunities for people that might not ordinarily be considered part of the normal work force. And, while not necessarily good for the soldiers engaged in the fighting, wars are always good for the businesses that provide the materials used in a war. The Second World War was very good for business. The Second World War completed the process of "centralizing" the American economy. The Great Depression of 1929 and America's involvement in the war completed the change from small, locally run businesses to large, centralized control. Big business, big unions, and big government dominated the American economy by the end of the war. The federal government issued thousands of contracts to make war goods. The largest beneficiaries of the government's largesse were the existing large corporations. "The big got bigger," Norton tells us, and the government "guaranteed profits in the form of cost-plus-fixed fee contracts, generous tax write-offs, and exemption from antitrust prosecution." Large universities received research contracts. Farming came to be dominated by "large-scale mechanized companies and farm co-ops" rather than family farms. The war "accelerated" this trend because "wealthy institutions were better ableÃ¢â¬ ¦ to pay for expensive new machinery" (Norton 524 and 525). The huge government demand for increased production meant an increased demand for workers. Businesses wanted to hire any qualified worker willing to work. Unions wanted only union workers to work in jobs that had been union jobs. This disagreement eventually led to federal involvement in settling labor disputes. By 1943, labor was dominated by the centralized control of the unions, union membership climbing from 8.5 million in 1940 to over 14.7 million by 1943 (525). Along with its involvement in labor matters, the federal government also became involved in business activities. With the creation of the National War Labor Board in 1941 to settle labor disputes, and then the creation of the War Production Board in 1942 to convert the America economy to war production, the federal government had become a third partner in the centralizing of the American economy. With this increased participation came an increase in government policy and regulation. This led to an increased demand for federal workers to carry out these policies and by 1945 the size of the federal government had grown form 1.