World War One had a great impact on American economy and workforce. It changed ideology, cultural values and economic situation in the country. Stinging in his constant criticism of the benefits of American community with regard to income distribution, social welfare, racial justice, political inequality, and dozens of other concerns, critics assume a coincidence between version of universal human rights and social justice on the one hand and American economy on the other. WWI had a positive impact on the American economy as it allowed growth and development of the main industries and greater participation of the population in production.
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The WWI helped American economy to expand its production facilities and attract labor from other countries. During WWI, labor was not a junior partner; quite the contrary. It was the democratic socialist and labor movements that had warned of the dangers of military aggression, had led in the opposition to it, and had been its earliest victims. During this period of time, American population was combative and militant, as large waves of strike activity prove (Worth 41). The growth was marked in steel and shipyard industries. “A growing navy had other beneficial efforts on the economy. Its need to remain at the forefront of new technology made it a force for innovation” (Strachan 375). These measures succeeded in ending the economic decline and in preventing it in future. During the WWI, economic policy of the USA was based on complex principles and issues determined by national economic situation and international relations. The two principles issues of economic policy were the debate over trust and competition. The economic policy created new problems and threats for business required protection and financial support. In this case mutual trust and competition were difficult to achieve (Adams 43).
The WWI attracted millions of workers from other countries. It led to changes in structure of workforce and labor relations. Through the use of informal pressure, the workers maintained their organization in the shops as strongly as ever. In addition, the navy quietly retreated from its victimization of individual employees. Much of the leadership of the regional labor opposed the new labor policies and innovations. Fearing that grievances would lead to strikes and strikes to an antilabor movement, many labor leaders pursued the limited objectives of working. Difficult times of war demanded difficult decisions. Expanded union administrations with their stronger disciplinary rules surely contained some rank-and-file disagree during the war years (Adams 98).
Products of welfare capitalism were generally funded by employee payroll deductions and controlled by management-sponsored benefit associations. Indeed, the provision of economic benefits fit naturally within a longstanding paternalistic tradition in the steel and naval industry (Franks 61). A number of steelmakers set up sick benefit clubs to administer income-maintenance indemnities around the turn of the century. During the war, a growing number of steelmakers began to insure hospital and surgical services. By mid-1919, more than half the employees in basic steel already had employment-based hospital insurance; more than one-third had coverage for inpatient surgical procedures. The widespread prevalence of this group of insurance helps to explain some of the managerial intransigences in negotiations at this time. As they had during the war, steel makers resisted demands to bargain over health insurance. Many firms owned extensive coal-mining operations and, thus, were already suffering the intrusions into benefits management (Strachan 65).
Some immigrants facilitated chain migration by encouraging friends and relatives to join them and providing newcomers with food, shelter, and emotional support until they found their own jobs and housing. These people labored under a triple yoke of oppression, confined by racism to the lowest rungs of the employment ladder, stigmatized by their presumed lower-class status because of their residency, and further constrained because of gender bias (Franks 42). Nevertheless, the experience of migration and entry into the urban industrial workforce via the shipyards helped African-American women move away from the deferential racial and stereotypical gender roles to which they had been confined by giving them an economic alternative. African-American women not only took the initiative in migrating but also, in many cases, supplied the impetus for migration. Despite the economic shift upward that Kaiser shipyard work represented for most African-American women, some found the choice between the shipyards or “somebody’s kitchen” still too restrictive (Worth 77).
In sum, WWI with massive labor demands offered new work opportunities for both local residents and in-migrant workers in the USA. The influx of new, largely unskilled workers led to a major reorganization and deskilling of the work process and too bitter conflicts between old and new workers within shipyard unions. The study of such labor conflicts provides a window into the larger newcomer-old timer schism that soon pervaded all aspects of urban life. Thus, hundreds of multinational companies and transnational corporations enter these markets paying no attention to trustworthy relations, ethical behavior and fair competition. Multilateral trading system limits national competition and leads to decline of national business and effective performance of local organizations.
Adams, M. C. C. The Best War Ever: America and World War II (The American Moment). The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
Franks, N., Dempsey, H. American Aces of World War I. Osprey Publishing; illustrated edition, 2001.
Strachan, H. The First World War. Viking Adult, 2004.
Worth, R. America in World War I: America in World War One (Wars That Changed American History). World Almanac Library, 2006.