The 1920s Changes


Industrial development and business have greatly contributed to the modern social welfare in many ways. These contributions brought about by industry and business in the 19th century impacted the social welfare both positively and negative. They led to the creation of both blue collar jobs and white-color jobs. In this regard, it created employment opportunities for skilled workers, and this led to little consideration of unskilled labor. This essay, therefore, looks at how industry and business have changed the social welfare, thus having lead to the formation of middle class.

Blue Collar Job

In the early nineteenth century, the electrification and mechanization of both automobiles and textile industries led to unemployment, since there was a decreased need for unskilled workers. The machines could perform all the work that was initially done by man. Technology also led to a decrease in the demand for workforce in most businesses. The use of machines and technology in business made workers to form unions. These unions inspired workers to strike so that they can be reconsidered at the workplace; however, the workers did not succeed. Companies fought back by forming welfare capitalism programs that ensured that their workers did not join the unions. In that regard, they gave workers conditions by signing contracts. These welfare capitalism programs were characterized by offering of incentives, family consideration, among other things. All the above were aimed at undermining the unions and manipulating the employees to become more productive for the company’s interest.

White Collar Job

Industrialization and technological knowhow led to the formation of white collar jobs, where employees ranged from lowly paid clerks to highly paid accountants. The formation of these sets of employees led to the formation of middle class individuals, who had better living standards. In order to be employed, one had to be qualified in that particular area and was required to present with his/her credentials. Most people had attended high schools, while the rest had attended colleges or some specialized education institutions, where they learnt specialized education such as salesmanship, accounting, business management etc. However, those who formed the middle class suffered because the unemployed stole from them.

Women in Workplace 

In 1920s, most women joined the workforce where they were discriminated. Since most of these women were single, they were paid poorly, thus making them to live in the unfavorable conditions. Daughters of the immigrants secured the white collar jobs, where they earned good pay. Most women during this period worked as clerks, while others joined such fields as teaching, nursing, social work among others. However, women also suffered intimidation from their male counterparts, who considered them an economic threat and thus restricted their employment.

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Consumer Culture

In the 1920s, a new consumer culture emerged, thus leading to a relentless pursuit of pleasure. During this period, consumers increased material consumption on various products such as automobiles, cosmetics, and household appliances. Most buildings also became commercial centers such as nightclubs, show rooms, amusement parks, hotels as well as restaurants. Advertisement of products was also done through magazines, newspapers, and televisions. Consumer culture basically concentrated on self-expression and self-realization, which played a very important role in the American consumer culture. American culture facilitated the growth of this new consumer culture due to the individuals’ freedom and autonomy.


As a result of this transformation through industrialization, the working class developed interest in various leisure activities. They built recreational centers, where the middle class could afford to participate in activities like bare-knuckle, nickelodeon, dime museum, among others. It also led to the development of small businesses, such as saloons, which were profit potential. These are some of the areas that marked success of African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Europeans, who were absorbed in music recordings.

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The 19th century was very instrumental in the emergence of various activities such as blue collar and white collar jobs. Moreover, women became absorbed in the workplace. Leisure and other recreational activities gained their popularity among the middle class, which was formed due to the business and industrial changes of the 1920s. Besides, industrialization and new forms of businesses led to the emergence of consumer culture.

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