Chapter 42 The American People Face a New Century
I. Economic Revolutions • Opening 20th century: • United States steel was the flagship business of America’s booming industrial revolution • Generation later it was General Motors • Annually producing millions of automobiles • Characteristic American corporation • Shift to the mass consumer in the 1920s • Flowered in the 1950s • After World War II the rise of International Business Machines (IBM) • Later Microsoft Corporation led transformation to the fast-paced “information age”: the storing, organizing, and processing of data became an industry.
I. Economic Revolutions(cont.) • 21st century the growth of the Internet—communica- tions revolution • New corporate giants like Google • Social networking like Facebook and Twitter • Peoples rocketing down the “information superhighway” • Toward the uncharted terrain of an electronic global village • Speed and efficiency of the new communications tools threatened to wipe out entire occupational categories • Now businesses could be “outsourced” to other countries • Scientific research propelled the economy • New scientific knowledge raised new moral dilemmas and provoked new political arguments • The threshold of a revolution in biological engineering
I. Economic Revolutions(cont.) • The Human Genome Project established the DNA sequence –the way to radical new medical therapies • The cloning industry—legitimacy of applying cloning technology to human reproduction, human stem cells research • Resulting in unprecedented ethical questions: • What principles should govern the allocation of human organs for lifesaving transplants? • Was it wise to spend money on such costly procedures? • Should resources be better spent on improved sanitation, maternal and infant care, nutritional and health education? • Should society regulate the increasingly lengthy and often painful process of dying? (see pp. 994-995)
II. Affluence and Inequality • Americans were an affluent people at the beginning of the 21st century: • Median household income reached $49,400 in 2011 • Most enjoyed a higher standard of living than 2/3 people • Americans were no longer the world’s wealthiest people • The richest 20% of Americans raked in ½ the national income • The poorest 20% received a little over 3% (see Table 42.1) • This trend was evident in many industrial societies • The Welfare Reform Bill of 1996: • Restricted access to social services • Requiring able-bodied welfare recipients to find work. • There were signs of widening inequality • Numbers of those who had health care or did not • Those who remained in poverty
II. Affluence and Inequality(cont.) • Indictment of the inequities afflicting an affluent and allegedly egalitarian republic (for comparative data, see Figure 42.1) • What caused the widening income gap? • The tax and fiscal policies from Reagan to the Bushes, which favored the wealthy (see Table 42.2) • The intensifying global economic competition • The shrinkage in high-paying manufacturing jobs for semi- skilled and unskilled workers • The greater economic rewards commanded by educated workers in high-tech industries • The decline of unions • The growth of part-time and temporary work • The rising tide of relatively low-skill immigrants
II. Affluence and Inequality(cont.) • The increasing tendency of educated men and women to marry one another and both work, creating households with very high incomes • Educational opportunities perpetuated inequality: • The underfunding of many schools in poor urban areas • The soaring costs of higher education
III. The Feminist Revolution • Women in the workplace: • Beginning of the 20th century, women made up about 20% of the workforce • Constantly increasing their presence in the workplace over the next five decades • Increased during World War II • Beginning in the 1950s women’s entry accelerated dramatically • By the 1990s nearly half of all workers were women • Most astonishing was the upsurge in employment of mothers • In 1950s most mothers with children stayed at home.
III. The Feminist Revolution(cont.) • By the 1990s a majority of women with children as young as one year old were wage earners (see Table 42.3) • Women brought home the bacon and then cooked it • By 2008 population of American women in the workforce was higher than most countries except Russia and China (see Figure 42.3) • In the 1960s all-male strongholds—Yale, Princeton, West Point, southern military academies like Citadel and Virginia Military Institute—opened to women • By the 21st century women were piloting airplanes, orbiting the earth, governing states and cities, and writing Supreme Court decisions.
III. The Feminist Revolution(cont.) • Yet many feminists remained frustrated: • Women continued to received lower wages • Tended to concentrate in low-prestige, low-paying occupations (the “pink-collar ghetto”) • Accounting for ½ the population in 1990, they were: • 32% of lawyers and judges (up from 5% in 1970) • 32% of physicians (up from 10% in 1970) • Overt sexual discrimination explained some of this occupational segregation: • Most, however, attributed to the role of motherhood • Helped for the persistence of a “gender gap” in voting behavior.
III. The Feminist Revolution(cont.) • Most voted for Democrats: • Women perceived them as more willing to favor government support for health and child care, education, job equality, and more vigilant to protect abortion rights • 20th century men’s roles changed as well: • Some employers provided paternity leave in addition to maternity leave • More men assumed traditional female responsibilities • Congress passed the Family Leave Bill in 1993: • Mandating job protection for working fathers as well as working mothers who needed to take time off from work for family-related reasons.
IV. New Families and Old • The traditional family suffered heavy blows in modern America: • By the 1990s one out of every two marriages ended in divorce: • Seven times more children were affected by divorce • Kids who commuted between separated parents were commonplace • Traditional families were increasingly slow to form in the first place: • Adults living alone tripled in the four decades after 1950 • By the 1990s nearly one-third of women aged 25-29 had never married
IV. New Families and Old (cont.) • By the 1960s, 5% of all births were to unmarried women • Three decades later: • One out of four white babies • One out of three Latino babies • Two out of three African American babies • Were born to single mothers. • Every fourth child in America was growing up in a household that lacked two parents • The collapse of the traditional family contributed to the pauperization of many women and children • As single parents (usually mothers) struggled to keep their households economically afloat • Single parenthood outstripped race and ethnicity as the highest predictor of poverty in America.
IV. New Families and Old(cont.) • Childrearing, the family’s foremost function • Being increasingly assigned to “parent-substitutes” • To day care centers or schools • To television and DVD players • Parental anxieties multiplied with the Internet • Where youngsters could “surf” through poetry and problem sets as well as pornography • If the traditional family was increasingly rare, the family itself remained a bedrock of American society in the early twenty-first century: • As viable families now assumed a variety of forms: • Children in household led by single parent, stepparent, or grandparent
IV. New Families and Old(cont.) • Children with gay and lesbian parents • Gay marriages took place when Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled them legal in 2003. • Teenage pregnancy • A key source of single parenthood, was on the decline after the mid 1990s • Divorce • Rates appeared to ebb a bit • With 3.4 divorces per thousand people in 2008, down from 5.3 per thousand in 1981 • The family was not evaporating, but evolving into multiple forms
V. The Aging of America • Old age was to be a lengthy experience • Americans were living longer • Someone born in 2000 could anticipate a life span of seventy-five years. • The census of 1950 recorded that women for the first time made up a majority of Americans • Miraculous medical advances lengthened and strengthened lives • Noteworthy, the development of antibiotics after 1940 • Dr. Jonas Salk’s discovery in 1953 of a vaccine against a dreaded crippler, polio • Longer lives spelled more elderly people • One American in eight was over 65 in 2009
V. The Aging of America(cont.) • Projected that one in every five would be in the “sunset years” by 2050 • Host of political, social, and economic questions about older Americans: • They form a potent electoral bloc that lobbies for senior citizens • The share of GNP spent on healthcare for people over sixty-five more than doubled in three decades after the enactment of Medicare in 1965 • The growth in medical payments for the old outstripped the growth of educational expenditures for the young • As late as 1960s over ¼ lived in poverty, three decades only one in ten did
V. The Aging of America(cont.) • Triumphs for senior citizens brought fiscal strains • Especially on Social Security and Medicare systems • Social Security payments to retirees did not represent reim-bursement for contributions that the elderly had made during their working lives • The Social Security payments of current workers into the Social Security system funded the benefits to current gener-ations of retirees. • The problem intensified with the soaring rise of health-care costs • The huge wave of post-World War II baby boomers that approached retirement age • What the government is taking in is not matching or cover- ing what is being paid out: • Might rise above $7 trillion.
V. The Aging of America(cont.) • The “third rail” of American politics: • The electoral power of older Americans • Social Security • Medicare • Which politicians touched only at their peril (see Figure 42.4)
VI. The New Immigration • Newcomers continued to come in waves that numbered 1 million persons per year: • Europe contributed fewer than did Asia and Latin America (see Figure 2.5) • They settled in the traditional ethnic enclaves in cities and towns • And in sprawling suburbs, where many of the new jobs are located • What prompted new immigrants to America? • Many came for the same reason as the old ones did • Left countries where the population was growing rapidly
VI. The New Immigration(cont.) • From countries where agricultural and industrial revolutions were shaking people loose • In search of new jobs and economic opportunity • Some came with skills and even professional degrees and found their way into middle-class jobs • Most came with fewer skills, and less education, seek-ing work as janitors, nannies, farm laborers, lawn cutters, or restaurant workers. • The Southwest felt the immigrant impact especially sharply—Mexican migrants • Latinos made up nearly 1/3 of the populations of Arizona, Texas, and California • 40% in New Mexico (See, pp. 1002-1003)
VI. The New Immigration(cont.) • Mexican American have succeeded in creating a cultural zone. • Some old-stock Americans worry about the capacity of the modern United States to absorb these new immigrants. • The Immigration Reform and Control Act, 1986: • Attempted to choke off illegal entry by penalizing employers of undocumented aliens • And granted amnesty to many of those already in the U.S. • Only 13% of the American population in 2007 were immigrants
VI. The New Immigration(cont.) • Critics of immigration: • They robbed citizens of jobs • They dumped themselves on the welfare rolls at taxpayers’ expense • Some worry about unscrupulous employers who might take cruel advantage of alien workers • Debates over immigration were complicated by the problem of illegal immigrants • Bush and a bipartisan group of legislators proposed a law to establish a guest-worker program • Anti-immigrant forces condemned the plan as “amnesty”
VI. The New Immigration (cont.) • Business interests protested that it would put too great a burden on employers to verify the right to work • Immigrant right advocates claimed it would create “second-class citizens” • Legislators in Arizona, provoked by continuing immigrant flows over the state’s long desert border with Mexico: • Placed a harsh anti-immigrant law in 2010 requiring local police to detain people if there was “reasonable suspicion” that they were illegal • “Racial profiling” • Congress rejected the DREAM Act
VII. Beyond the Melting Pot • Latinos were becoming an increasingly important minority • The United States was home to about 47 million • 31 million Chicanos, or Mexican Americans • They elected mayors in several cities • The United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) headed by Cesar Chavez • Succeeded in improving working conditions for the mostly Chicanos “stoop laborers” who followed the cycle of planting and harvesting across America • Increased influence by the presence of Spanish-language ballots and television broadcasts
VII. Beyond the Melting Pot(cont.) • Latinos became the largest ethnic minority, outnumbering even African Americans in 2003 • The Chicano population of America’s largest state, California, led the Anglo population • In 2003 most newborns in California were Latinos • By 2010 the Census Bureau counted four “majority-minority” states: • No ethnic group commanded a majority: Texas, New Mex- ico, California, and Hawaii • Nationwide, the birthrate for nonwhites in 2010 was poised to eclipse the white birthrate for the first time in history.