Consumerism and people’s life during world war 2 Essay

Consumerism refers to the social and economical order of which consumers are encouraged to buy more products and services at continuously increasing rates. It also refers to the promotion of the customer’s interest. Consumerism had already happened long ago, and has greatly affected the lives of people, especially after the war. However, during World War 2, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and declarations of war cause a great change to occur within the American society that was directed and financed by the federal government and was carried out by businesses, the media and many local institutions. The War Production Board started to allocate increasingly scarce materials and either stopped or limited the production of common civilian products. At this time, the Office of Price and Administration froze prices which forced housewives to learn to live by rationing their necessities. Rationing played a big role in efficiently dividing the resources the government had left but it was so complex because it included 93 district offices, a multitude of volunteer boards, public school systems, local newspapers and radio stations and a lot of retail grocers. They even created four different rationing programs to allow the system of rationing to run smoothly. The few said programs are Certificate Rationing which allowed the purchase of single items such as automobiles and tires only on the basis of need, Differential Coupon Rationing that allowed certain people such as physicians to get more than others such as more fuel oil or gasoline than the average citizen, Uniform Coupon Rationing applied the principle that everyone should share alike which was used for shoes, sugar, coffee and other products and the final rationing program Point Rationing which gave every person his or her own individual coupon book. The government was aided by the media and private businesses to help inform consumers about these changing rationing systems over time. Fortunately, these programs were very successful and upon rising 12 percent in 1941 and 1942, food prices steadily increased over the remainder of the war. During world war 2 when the United States would be joining into World War 2 ",there artists were put to work just to create posters to support on the home front. People are encouraged to purchase war bonds and take on factory jobs to increasing the production that were needed for the military.Citizens were reminded to be more conservative, to always recycle and encouraged to produce their own products at home that they regularly consume. Posters were widely spread during the war times as advertising and they usually emphasise on five major consumption themes. The first set of posters would carefully explain the changing ra- tioning systems and others would urge compliance with ceiling prices. For example, “Keep the Home Front Pledge” (1942) by the War Food Administration (WFA). What this poster was about is conserving food. A young blond woman in an apron was illustrated raising her hand to pledge. There were captions around the poster that read ‘food fights for freedom’, ‘produce and conserve’ and ‘share and play square’. The poster are shown in red , blue and lastly yellow ",all these colour are vibrant primary colour that attracts people attention during the war. The words on the poster “Pay no more than Ceiling Price , Pay your Points in full” highly giving the power to persuade people to do something that meant to be the correct thing to do , It is a language game that was discussed by Jean Francois Lyotard , prescription does not describe the affairs that are happening but aims to bring us to resonate with the affairs by using the elements that are related. The prescription on the poster in other to make it work the viewers must also be included in the particular order if not the message will be misunderstood just like Jean Francois Ly- otard said , “It emerges from the deep conviction that there is a true being of society , and that society will be just as it is brought into conformity with this true being, and therefore one can draw just prescription that is true, in the sense of correct. The pas- sage from the true to the just is a passage that is the If, then.”Secondly, there were campaigns that encourage recycling such as “Save Waste Fats for Explosives” (1943) from the Office of War Information (OWI). This poster was about how wasted fat from kitchens could have been used for explosive weapon. This poster doesn't sound logical as it looks like but during those time cooking fats for conversion to glycerin is an ingredient for the explosives . These posters mostly having a hand pouring to the explosives about that visual is an easy way to communicate to the viewers. Thirdly, some posters emphasized on conservative consumption such as “Food is a Weapon, Don’t Waste it” (1943) as published by the OWI. The poster shows a plate with bones in it. It shows that during the war, food was just as important in fighting in the war with actual weapons. This poster also did used a contrast colour of a empty plate to shown not to waste the food since during the war there’s way too much shortage of food. Fourth, there were many campaigns that encouraged citizens to produce food at home and canning such as “Your Victory Garden Counts More Than Ever!” (1945) by the WFA. This poster depicts a variety of vegetables piled up and there are gardeners working on the garden. The poster had bright and vibrant colours to convince the people that not only is their job to grow their own food, but it is important in order to continue to fight in the war and eventually win it. There’s always a way for them to get the visual to the viewer to understand more with a simple prescription and it works a lot even till now. Lastly, there were posters that asked citizens to go abandon immediate consumption and instead to promote the purchase of War Bonds. Poster advertisements were made with these ideologies to further remind the citizens at the time. There were also many changes made to products and packaging materials, forms and colours due to the increasing wartime scarcity. Both consumers and producers had to adapt to new styles of products and their packaging materials. A few examples of the changes are zinc being replaced by copper in pennies, half and half as a substitute for cream, metal cans switching to glass jars and paperboard lids and milk-bottle paper caps substituted metal caps. However, some companied got creative in order to help consumers recognize their familiar packaging such as Boraxo who printed a picture of their familiar metal can on the front of their paperboard carton. To put it into a numerical perspective, large inventories at the end of 1941 were depleted while the sale of durable products at retail dropped 33 percent between 1941 to 1942 as well as an additional 50 percent from 1942 to 1943. The most important shortages were in the areas of housing and medical services. However, consumers then began to spend more on entertainment and recreation. After World War 2, citizens expected an economic depression to happen after the end of World War 2 in 1945, instead there was a high demand rate due to Americans’ unsatisfied demands from the war time. That was when product marketers introduced a range of modern new products which was the fortunate result of technologies that were developed during the war such as aerosol spray cans, nylon, plastics, synthetic detergents and Styrofoam among many others. These technological advances also led to marketers’ investment into research and development. The Advertising Age caused the birth of many different agencies which increased form 1",628 in 1939 to 5",986 in 1948 which lasted throughout this decade. As media moved from radio to television, radio jingles were enhanced by the new visuals that was brought by TV commercials. Gillette was one of the first few brands to advertise on television where the line “Look sharp, feel sharp” was transformed into animation in one of the first regularly run TV spots for Gillette blue blades. Throughout the 1940s, radio was one of the main broadcasting mediums. However, by the end of the decade, television gained a widespread of use. In the beginning, the Federal Communications first approved commercial TV in 1941 but TV was effectively put on hold when the war started. Fortunately, after the war, TV took off once again and RCA Victor became the first postwar manufacturer to advertise TV sets in 1946. The increase of TV sets in households was set from 0.5% in 1948 to more than one-third of homes in 1952. Lever Bros., Pan American Airways, Firestone Tire and Esso were among the few early advertisers that used TV as a medium to support their brands. Then began the time when advertisement agencies sponsored and produced most of the TV programmes such as the three series “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” which was produced by Y&R for Lipton in 1948 and “Texaco Star Theater” with Milton Berle from the Kudner Agency. These programmes were a big hit with the citizens where it was enough to push them to purchase TV sets for their household. Radio broadcasting wasn’t completely eradicated and was instead improved with the new development of FM broadcasting. General Electric Co. was one of the first few manufacturers to start selling FM radios in 1940 and 1941. Unfortunately, this technology began to deteriorate until the 1960s. In print publication, they suffered a quality drop during the war because of the shortage of paper. However, The New York Times launched its Sunday Magazine in 1942 which carried a lot of advertisements that helped many fashion brands. Going over briefly about World War 2, it broke out 2 decades after World War 1 and it turned out to be even worse than the previous one. On 1st September 1939, Germany invaded Poland which sparked the start of World War 2. They purposefully waged war on them in order to get attention from the Great Britain and France. This ultimately led to the Holocaust as his final solution. Around 60 million people were killed, and around 6 million were Jewish. Within the first year of World War 2, Germany, consisting of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s, were politically and economically unstable. They decided to sign treaties with Italy and Japan in hopes to further its ambitions in world domination. This resulted in the birth of the Axis Powers. In the summer of 1940, Germany attacked the Great Britain. Fortunately for them, the Great Britain was allies with the United States of America and they received aid from them when their defensive resources were pushed to the limit. While the war between Germany and the Great Britain was happening, the United States of America was battling the Japanese. On December 7th, 1941, the infamous bombing of Pearl Harbor happened. Many 360 Japanese aircrafts dropped bombs at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii which claimed the lives of 2",300 Americans. The next day, on December 8th, the United States of America declared war against Japan. However, seeing as Japan was a part of the Axis Powers, Germany came to declare war against the United States of America in order to aid the Japanese. Despite the aid, in June 1942, the United States of America successfully defeated Japan. However, in mid 1943, Allied forces moved closer to invading Japan. World War 2 ended when the United States of America accepted Japan’s surrender to the war in September 2nd 1945.

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