Segment descriptions
Topics in American History Series:
Business, Part 3              

                   Description: Business 3

Business, Part 3
     sampler  4-19   (58 lecture)

How is John D. Rockefeller able to create a benign image of himself after being responsible for such events as the Ludlow massacre in the 19-teens?

                        play sampler



20th Century, First Half  (continued)


FDR and the New Deal.  Business erroneously sees FDR as anti-business, probably prolongs the Depression.  The rise of the labor unions challenges business' total control over labor.  The income tax, originally progressive, becomes mostly regressive. 


World War II ends the Depression, ends business's hostility toward FDR.  The war ends.  The need for perpetual war-time economy is seen as a factor in the Cold War.  The contrast between economy producing military goods and one producing consumer goods. 




20th Century, Second Half


The global economy.  The need for overseas markets and raw materials continues through the 1950s.  Multi-national corporations use factories overseas with cheap labor.  Rivalry increases within the capitalist world.  Castro comes to power, threatening business there.  U.S. economic needs connect with U.S. foreign policy. 


The Reagan revolution of 1980s.  The "trickle-down" supply-side economics, windfall profits, investing overseas, risky loans, huge increase in military budget.  Dwight Eisenhower's earlier warning of the military-industrial complex as a threat to American democracy. 


Unionized labor.  Significant past gains, but as unions weaken, business demands give-backs under threat to more plants elsewhere. .Increased environmental laws at home are another motive to move overseas.  Since 1970 real wages decline despite automation, and workers work longer hours. International. World trade agreements benefit business elite.  World economy becoming a greater reality.


Future of U.S. capitalism.  U.S. capitalism is safe at home.  Political contributions pay off.  U.S. capitalism is less safe abroad, with the increased rivalry from China and India with their cheaper labor supply.  Danger of future conflicts with unpredictable outcomes.