The Hungry Years1 Essay

This essay has a total of 775 words and 6 pages.

The Hungry Years1

Book Report

Paradis, Adrian A. The Hungry Years. Philadelphia. 1967.

There were few changes that could be seen; for the most part the revolution was

quiet. Never before had so many people of the United States held in their hearts despair,

panic and want. Yet out of the fear of the Depression came social reforms that have

strengthened America and its people.

The Depression was the worst economic decline ever in the United States history

that spread to practically all of the industrialized world. It began in late 1929 and lasted

for about ten years. There were many factors that played a role in causing the depression,

but the main cause was the unequal distribution of wealth during the 1920’s, and the

wide stock market speculation that happened toward the end of the 1920’s. These

factors, along with others, caused the American economy to turn upside-down. The

“roaring twenties” was a time that the United States prospered greatly. The nation’s total

income rose from $74.3 billion in 1923 to $89 billion in 1929. However, the benefits of

the prosperity of the 1920’s were not shared evenly among all Americans, and the

maldistribution of income between the rich and the middle class grew throughout the

decade. Two major reasons for the gap between the rich and the working class were the

increased manufacturing output throughout this period and because the federal

government favored business, which included the wealthy who put their money into these

businesses. The growing gap between the wealthy and the middle class made the United

States economy unstable. For the economy to function properly, total demand must equal

total supply. In an economy with such an unequal distribution of income, it wasn’t

always likely that the demand would always equal the supply. Basically what happened

in the 1920’s was that there was an oversupply of goods. It was not that the products

were not wanted, but that those who needed the products, simply could not afford more;

whereas, the wealthy’s needs were met by spending only a little amount of their income.

Unfortunately, the gap between the two only began to grow wider. In contributing to the

Depression, the federal government favored the new industries instead of agriculture.

During World War I, the federal government had subsidized farms, and paid very high

prices for wheat and other grains. The government had encouraged farmers to buy more

land and to update their farming methods with the new technology, and to produce more
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