That’s right, the 100 year old era of economic growth and change in the western world that led to the Great Depression is coming back around in a new century. I’m talking about the revival of that era in modern terms, and what we might be expecting in this new decade, good and bad.
As is obvious, we have now closed out 2019, and therefore the decade of the 2010s. While I don’t personally believe there will be quite the boom coming in these 2020s as there was in that famous Jazz Age, there is an opportunity for growth and advances of the modern world.
The 1920s saw a lot of changes to modern industry and the use of credit to pay for things, as well as the creation of many new leisure technologies. All pieces that led to the rise and fall of this booming decade.
Cars were a large part of the development of the country’s economy, and I don’t just mean for transportation. I’m talking about the all-new Ford Assembly line. If a business didn’t have it before, they made sure to incorporate it in the 1920s. And for the businesses that had been profiting off of it since 1913, there became room for many new inventions for the age.
Tesla is what some might consider the modern-day Ford for cars and new technology in this age. We might see some advances in space travel within the next ten years, and with their release of the new Cybertruck, you know there’s nothing stopping them.
Automobiles have already been mentioned as one of the era’s prominent inventions, but there are several others including the Instant Camera and the first US Radio Station. Today, massive developments in virtual reality are becoming part of a new world of leisure never seen in the 1920s: video games.
Video games have had a large amount of growth in not just the United States, but the whole world over the past few decades. These types of technologies are becoming a part of everyday life for many people, even to the point where playing a video game becomes their career.
On the topic of advances in modern tech, artificial intelligence has also come a long way, and now, for example, coding for software that can tell your height can all be created at home.
The internet has made it so easy to get all of this information, teach yourself how to do it, and then show everyone else. That is what could be called today’s Ford Assembly Line. The internet, like the assembly line, has made many tasks quicker and more efficient, so that there would be much more time to create these new technologies.
Now I know the internet has been around way before 2020, but the advances it provides, and will provide for this decade, will have much of the same impact on the era as we approach some really extraordinary landmarks.
Along with radio, there was cinema that kept people’s leisure time occupied during the 1920s. It became very popular during this decade as people now had much more disposable income to spend on themselves, and the movies were a great place to do that. Disney has for a long time been the monster of television, and there is no sign they’re going to stop. Now with their release of Disney+, they are ready to start dominating the streaming world, too.
While we can’t see too far into the future, we can look at trends and figure out the good, and the bad sides of our Roaring 20s. Remember that what brought such fun and prosperity to the 1920s, also caused the great depression. Credit is a wonderful thing for the average person in America, but it can’t just be ignored. As we have seen from the Great Depression, there are consequences to having too much debt.
According to the National Public Radio’s report on the United State’s debt levels in February of 2019, we have hit a record $22 trillion in national debt. That is the highest it has ever been, and that’s not a record we want to be breaking.
While I’m sure we are more prepared now than we were in 1929 for a stock market crash, we aren’t really decreasing our debt under our current president, nor the one before him, for that matter. The fact is, history may repeat itself if we are not careful. It’s a lingering problem that might just cause another depression.
I’m not trying to scare you, but it is the reality that we have created for ourselves. All I can say is to be careful and smart with your money. I know in this day and age, as I have been taking about, there are plenty of exciting new gadgets you might want to get your hands on, but keep your debts and credit in mind as you go into the new year.
As the 1920s took the good with the bad, so we should, too. While there are many things to be looking forward to, there are still things to be cautious of. Happy New Year and Happy Roaring 2020s.
Christopher Kelleher is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.