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The Cruelty Of The Humanity Or Great Depression

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Humanity is cruel and there must be a body of authority to protect citizens from their own cruelty; government acts as a protector. Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan theory describes how unstable and chaotic life would be without government to implement law and order, as well as protection for its citizens. Government is something we as human beings chose to create and implement. Without government there would be anarchy. Comparatively, when pandemonium and lawlessness become too great, people will choose to have oppressive fascist governments, such as reactionary groups in Afghanistan like the Taliban, thеn to have no government at all. Survival of the fittest is no longer the case when people choose not to provide assistance to those in need when they have the resources and means to do so. In the absence of government, mankind can be inhumane to others. In essence the source is a quote that focuses on how as long as an individual is selfish and self-reliant, those in need will not help salvaged. Competition in all aspects of life require that some people be labeled as a higher quality whereas others are scorned for not being innovative enough. Although Western society has accomplished remarkable growth and progress at the hands of individualism, marginalized people still remain. Therefore, there must be an invitation of government into the lives of citizens, a paradigm shift toward modern liberalism, to ensure a moral and decent society for all. As a matter of fact, during the 1950s, the average American citizen experienced considerable prosperity, however there was a need for the government to get involvement in the impoverished lives of marginalized people.

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The civil rights movement, that began in the 1950s, happened in a time where America was known for being quite consensus. The consensus culture was generated by the Cold War and by abundance. Furthermore, this increasing prosperity meant that many citizens did not have to be critical of the government and those who were, ended up labeled as communists and traitors. During the late 1940s and early 1960s, the standard of living had risen and GDP more than doubled, causing America to encounter a season of economic inflation. This growth was distinct from other economic expansions in America on account of the majority of the prosperity being shared by common workers who saw an increase in wages. With this in mind, most citizens were elated as an increasing number of Americans had access to things such as televisions, dishwashers, indoor plumbing and electricity. This was an era of suburbanization which meant that many constructions jobs were created as the number of homes in America doubled. The embodiment of the American standard of living, a plethora of consumer goods and services, was established, making this a golden era for many. There was a universal agreement that America valued individualism and equal opportunity. The problem, however, was that citizens regarded equal opportunity as important but did not genuinely provide it. Albeit the 1950s were a golden age for some, it was not a time of broadening circumstances for African Americans. Throughout the country, severe segregation took place at school, home and work. Additionally, public accommodations were segregated by law in many parts of America. For instance, many new suburban neighborhoods were primarily of caucasian descent. Moreover, half of black families lived in poverty by the 1950s. Jobs were less stable for black workers as they had less standing in their jobs than their white co-workers.

Correspondingly, educational opportunities were harshly limited to inadequate segregated schools. Under those circumstances, it is clear that human beings are unable to act ethically unless there is a push from the government. There has even been sociological research that shows that segregation, itself, is psychologically detrimental to black children because they recognize that being separated is an emblem of inferiority. In this case, in 1946, the California Supreme Court ruled that Orange County had to desegregate their schools. Later, California’s governor, Earl Warren, signed an order that repealed all school segregation in the state. When the National Guard was used as a means to prohibit the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School by 9 black students in 1957, which lead to President Eisenhower to send the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, to walk black kids to school. As can be seen, when the government does not step up, leading to a more socialist liberal society, humanity will continue to be cruel to one another.

Correspondingly, the government must place measures to ensure that men and women are given equal opportunity through more socialist policies as without them, the rights of women are trampled upon. The movement that involved the most substantial number of people with lasting significance was the feminist movement. Beginning with Betty Friedan’s, “The Feminine Mystique,” a novel that popularized the idea that the current social and economic system impeded on the rights of women. This lead to the foundation of The National Organization of Women in 1966. It was becoming increasingly clear that women were being systematically discriminated against. Although women were half the population, in 1963, 5.8% of doctors were women, 3.7% of lawyers were women, and fewer than 10% of doctoral degrees went to women. Congress acknowledged this discrimination by responding with the Equal Pay Act in 1963, but that was only one aspect of life and younger women aimed for greater power and self determination in addition to legislation. Not to mention, feminists in the 1960s introduced the concept that the individual is political, notably when it came to equal pay, child care and abortion. The Supreme Court of America most supported the expansion of personal freedom and passed such an abundance of civil rights expanding decisions that the era was called a rights revolution. For instance, the Warren Court amended the First Amendment to broaden the protections of free speech and assembly. That is to say the Supreme Court also rescinded a law banning interracial marriage. As a result of Supreme Court decisions, the protections of people accused of crimes broadened, including the right to an attorney and enacted the exclusionary rule. Nevertheless, the development of a new right, the right to privacy, was result of two important decisions: the right to birth control and a women’s right to an abortion. Without government legislation, the status of women would not have been revolutionized. Overall Western society was only able to achieve great propriety with the help of government legislation, demonstrating how there must be a higher power uplifting marginalized citizens as people are too evil and selfish to do so on their own.

To say nothing of, the Great Depression establishes how the majority of marginalized people need government intervention in order to prosper in a noble, virtuous society. The Great Depression began after the stock market crash but not as a result of it of it. The 1920s featured large-scale domestic consumption of consumer products, which was good at the time, but a great deal of this consumption was fueled by credit and installment buying, which turned out to be quite unsustainable. Meanwhile, agricultural deteriorated throughout the 1920s, as farm prices dropped because farms had expanded tremendously during the Great War and this development led to the mechanization of agriculture. Many farmers went into debt because of greed as mechanizing farms was expensive and the overproduction and low prices of agriculture meant that often these farms were expropriated. Wealth in the 1920s led to many ignorant people investing in the stock market and by 1929 banks were loaning more money to investments in the stock market and real estate than for business projects.

Of course many people lost money in the stock market, but the bigger problem of the Great Depression was the enormous unemployment and the adversity that followed. Furthermore, America’s weak banking system went under as the majority of banks were private institutions that had no government backing them. When speculation caused the masses to panic, people everywhere hurried to deposit money out of banks, but there was not enough money on reserve. This caused an influx of banks going bankrupt in 1930. Banks had to call in loans and sold assets as people deposited more and more money out of the banks. Deflation emerged as credit froze and less money was in circulation. Prices dropped and more businesses laid off workers to compensate costs. No one could afford to purchase anything, so supply increased and prices dropped further. Banks had no money to lend so employers were unable to pay workers, causing businesses to go bankrupt and leaving less workers able to purchase goods and services. Another result of credit freezing was that it impacted not only Western economies but many economies in Europe also went into turmoil. With all these large industrialized economies failing, less people could buy foreign products and world trade came to a halt. In order to stay protectionist, America raised their tariffs but other countries responded by also raising their own tariffs, meaning that trade slowed even more.

By the end of 1931, double the amount of banks had gone under. John Maynard Keynes’ fiscal policy did not come into play until the mid 1930s, when the Depression was well underway and the Hoover administration did not do enough to counteract the depression. Hoover did not allow the federal government to take over the situation entirely. For the most part, Hoover inadequately relied on private businesses as well as state and local governments to spur the economy. As the depression worsened, Hoover was forced to take a more socialist approach and created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, in 1932, which was a federal program that borrowed money to provide emergency loans to banks and agricultural corporations. Even so, the issue was that by then, bailing out the banks was not enough, and the Great Depression truly started to develop. At the time, over 10 million citizens were unemployed and the statics for minority groups were even worse. To emphasize, 4% of the population of Chicago was African American, yet they made up over 16% of the unemployed. People dug into trash cans for food and many were forced to ask for relief aid. In like manner, Hoover’s solution was to try to stimulate private charity through the President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief. It is important to realize that even though, the amount of private charitable giving in did increase, the total amount spent on relief in 1932 was less than one month’s lost wages for the people unemployed. Thousands of citizens took to the road in search of work and thousands more stood in bread lines. There was even a shack town built by the homeless known as “Hooverville” that demonstrates the destitution that occurs when the government does not take a larger role in the lives of citizens. It became increasingly obvious that society needed to move towards a more collectivist standpoint and that is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” provided.

This “New Deal” was a succession of government spending programs that helped lessen the impact of the Great Depression as well as aid in the end of the depression. Given these points, the Great Depression demonstrates how if government does not get more involved and help guide the people, especially in times of crisis, the crisis will only worsen as mankind is too irrational to make decisions that benefit the common good. All things considered, mankind is cruel and greedy, therefore the government must evolve to become more socialist to truly uplift the marginalized minority and thus bring greater equality and prosperity to the nation. The government’s role in economic policy needs to be greater as individual human beings are not stable or rational enough to use resources to benefit the group. Millions suffered during the Great Depression while the government could have stepped up and created better change more quickly. Black Americans were considered to be inferior to white citizens during a time people considered to be prosperous. Not only has an entire race been discriminated against but an entire gender has as well. There was was even a time in history where women were not considered to be “human beings.” There was widespread systemic inequality and poverty that shows just how far away we were from living the ideal of equal opportunity, but government intervention was able to allow for more prosperity for all people.

11 February 2020

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