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American Business History

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"Dwight D. Eisenhower, himself a military hero of World War II, in his 1961 farewell address as president warned Americans that in their midst was being created a military-industrial complex' with interests of its own that might not match those of the nation." (Ratner, S.; J. H. Solton; and R. Sylla; The Evolution of the American Economy. New York: Macmillan, 1993, p. 524)

1) What were Eisenhower's concerns? To what extent do you think he was right? Does this condition still exist?

2) Since industrialization began, technology has generated unemployment, but the increase in business activity opened new jobs, so that the net effect was to produce a steady increase in the number of people employed. In the 1930's the concern was the loss of jobs to labor-saving machinery. In the 1950's and 60's this was called automation. In the 1980's the talk was of replacing workers with robots. At present, the fear is from outsourcing. The growth of multinational corporations has resulted in companies moving entire factories to areas of low cost labor, and to transfer simple, easily learned procedures to areas where untrained workers could be employed at low cost. What is the impact of this upon American workers? Do you think the expansion of business activity can, despite these developments, still generate enough jobs for Americans?

3) Define productivity. Relate productivity to the stated aim of the government to maintain full employment. In the drive for productivity, have we eliminated a potential market for our products by rendering unskilled workers superfluous and thus depriving them the opportunity to purchase the outputs of our factories? Do you see a dilemma here? How can it be resolved?

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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Pres. Eisenhower's Economic Concerns

Eisenhower's leadership played out during the Cold War years and the late President's domestic and global concerns in relation to political and economic stability centered around the notion of a stable infrastructure. What does this mean? He was very much worried about the statist or 'big government' programs of Truman's Fair Deal at the same time he also questioned the ultra-conservative views of some of the Republicans. Eisenhower was all about finding a moderate way, taking a chance on what can become the 'common ground'. How did this affect the economy then? Americans at Eisenhower's time were enjoying the stability of the American economy - they had access to money and employment allowing families to purchase homes and cars. His concern was that too much government control will stump growth and entreneurship. Hence he proposed his 'Modern republicanism' which was intended to preserve individual freedom and the open-market ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a 721-word narrative divided into 3 sections which directly answers the 3 questions provided in the original posting (see problem) discussing in particular the concerns of then Pres. Eisenhower (economic & political), the impact of global expansion and outsourcing on the American job market, and lastly, a discussion of productivity and its relation to employment. References are listed for further research. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing and download.