chapter  XVI
XVI Normalcy and Reaction
Pages 28

Most Americans had reason to be satisfi ed with the status quo, because, except for a brief recession in 1921, the decade brought unparalleled prosperity. Employment rose steadily, productivity soared, and prices stabilized at relatively low levels. The economy was driven by technological innovation, the emergence of new industries, and a steady fl ow of consumer goods. The automobile, chemical, and electrical appliance industries not only created millions of new jobs but raised standards of living. There was spectacular growth in communications and mass entertainment. Radios and motion pictures kept people informed and entertained, shaping attitudes and popular tastes. Movies attracted over 100 million customers weekly and became a powerful force in the new mass culture. Americans became more mobile than ever before. There were nearly 23 million passenger cars in the United States by the end of the decade, about one for every six people. The average citizen not only had more money than before, but more ways and places to spend it.