Century of the Leisured Masses: Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America by David George SurdamCentury of the Leisured Masses: Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America by David George Surdam

Century of the Leisured Masses: Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America

byDavid George Surdam

Paperback | February 16, 2015

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American living standards improved considerably between 1900 and 2000. While most observers focus on gains in per-capita income as a measure of economic well-being, economists have used other measures of well-being: height, weight, and longevity. The increased amount of leisure time per weekand across people's lifetimes, however, has been an unsung aspect of the improved standard of living in America. In Century of the Leisured Masses, David George Surdam explores the growing presence of leisure activities in Americans' lives and how this development came out throughout the twentieth century. Most Americans have gone from working fifty-five or more hours per week to working fewer than forty,although many Americans at the top rungs of the economic ladder continue to work long hours. Not only do more Americans have more time to devote to other activities, they are able to enjoy higher-quality leisure. New forms of leisure have given Americans more choices, better quality, and greaterconvenience. For instance, in addition to producing music themselves, they can now listen to the most talented musicians when and where they want. Television began as black and white on small screens; within fifty years, Americans had a cast of dozens of channels to choose from. They could alsopurchase favorite shows and movies to watch at their convenience. Even Americans with low incomes enjoyed television and other new forms of leisure. This growth of leisure resulted from a combination of growing productivity, better health, and technology. American workers became more productive and chose to spend their improved productivity and higher wages by consuming more, taking more time off, and enjoying better working conditions. Bycentury's end, relatively few Americans were engaged in arduous, dangerous, and stultifying occupations. The reign of tyranny on the shop floor, in retail shops, and in offices was mitigated; many Americans could even enjoy leisure activities during work hours.Failure to consider the gains in leisure time and leisure consumption understates the gains in American living standards. With Century of the Leisured Masses, Surdam has comprehensively documented and examined the developments in this important marker of well-being throughout the pastcentury.
David Surdam is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Northern Iowa. He earned his doctorate under the supervision of Nobel-Prize Winner in Economics, Robert W. Fogel. He is the author of several books and articles pertaining to the economics of professional team sports and the American Civil War. He is currently wor...
Title:Century of the Leisured Masses: Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 1.3 inPublished:February 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190211571

ISBN - 13:9780190211578

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Table of Contents

Ken McCormick: Preface: Veblen and WeberIntroduction: Why Leisure?1. Definitions of Leisure2. History and Attitudes Regarding Leisure3. The Economics of Leisure4. Less Work, More Play, and the Rise of Leisure5. The Rise of Expenditures on Leisure Goods and Services6. Patterns in Leisure for the Young and the Old7. The Interaction of Leisure and Public Health8. The Changing Workplace9. The Transformation of the Domestic Economy10. Commercialized Leisure in the Early 1900s11. Mass Entertainment to the Fore12. Improved Infrastructure and Leisure13. Government and Leisure14. Antitrust Issues and the Leisure IndustriesEpilogue: More Leisure, Better Leisure, Cheaper Leisure