Old School, New School, No School Like an Old Fool
As explained in “From Fool To Fortune Part One,” budgets and household economy was a way of life for the average Americans who survived the Great Depression from 1929 to 1940. The bullish approach of those who did well were not the majority. Frugality, humility, hard work, well-cared for family and the like were common attitudes adopted by those who had worked on farms, stood in soup lines and forced to live in tents or on the charity of others.
Some say this world economic disaster began with Black Tuesday, the day the stock market crashed. Others say the stocks only reflected the stalled industry. Whatever the cause, those who emerged from that time period would never again take employment for granted. Saving money was also an adopted custom. Many took to hiding their money in locked metal boxes hidden beneath the floor boards. Some stuffed it in their walls or mattresses.
One can only imagine what it must have been like to lose a job and think that you at least put some money away in the bank to tide you over only to discover that your bank had gone bankrupt and your money was gone. Suddenly, you have nothing and there are no jobs. You know it is only a matter of time before they take your house.
Naturally, you would pass along to your children the valuable lessons you have learned – even if it kills them. For the average citizen, cutting back on spending, finding work, hunting for food, sharing shelter, and other penny-pinching tactics were what kept families fed and sheltered. However, it was not necessarily the right thing to do.
Companies that found wealth, such as Kellogg and Proctor & Gamble, took aggressive action instead of the usual attempts of cutting back. In fact, those who did well during the Great Depression refused to buy into the idea that consumers would not buy. They simply advertised even harder.
Wealth does not disappear, it merely changes hands.
Robert Kiyosoki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” was a worldwide situation. In other words, there were those who stooped to any depth to survive and save up some money and those who ignored the economic weather and advertised their entrepreneurial way to wealth. The money did not go away, it simply shifted hands. Those who understood this built empires.
Something happened that brought about a shift in the American frame of mind, an entire drug culture, a change in morality, a severe breakdown of the family unit, a drastic drop in work force, a decrease in small business growth, a “buy now, pay later” finance, a materialistic approach to life, a loss of faith, a loss of patriotism, a loss of national pride, no longer caring for one’s neighbors and more. And it happened all in one generation.
The world invades our homes!
Television was invented in 1926 by J.L. Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland. Broadcasting started in Germany in 1935. American broadcasting started in 1941. The average person did not own a TV set, however, until the 1950s. If people wanted to know what was happening around the world, they had to buy a newspaper, listen to the news on the radio or read a magazine. If they were “movie goers,” they might see newsreels before the main feature. Children under the age of six were not exposed to worldly news unless they overheard it from their parents.
In 1949, there were only about a million TV sets in the U.S. ks quik However, by 1959, there were 50 million. Parents did not prevent their youngest children from watching and, in fact, TV watching was fast becoming a family ritual. During the 1960s, color TV made watching even more popular and the number of television sets in the average American home grew exponentially.
What was America watching and how did it affect home values?
Though television broadcasting began as early as 1928, too few homes had televisions for there to be an effect on the majority. In 1947, while there were 40 million radios in the U.S., there were only about 44,000 television sets, most of them in the New York area. In 1948, DuMont Television Network, NBC, CBS and ABC were broadcasting. By 1949, the networks stretched from New York to the Mississippi River, and by 1951 to the West Coast.
Life before television was extremely different. Segregation was a way of life. One knew one’s place in the unspoken social structure (told to the children by the parents), were raised according to their parent’s religion and expected to “marry well” which meant a person of your own race who equaled or exceeded your social status. This applied to every race and religion within each community. America had become a place of many races, religion and cultures but not yet a “melting pot.” Our communities were contained and controlled to a great extent. The virtues of this were language, culture, mutual support and gradual adaptation.