Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and governments fulfill their needs and wants with limited resources. Economics includes the activities of businesses, the budgets of governments, and the spending decisions of individuals and households.
Farmer Felder Daniels, Doug Bachtel, a demographer at the University of Georgia, Lillie Rosser, a former housecleaner and now an assistant pastor at an Atlanta church, and Tena Butler, who attended segregated schools in Savannah, discuss the economic impact of the Civil Rights Movement and the challenges African Americans in Georgia faced.
Television changed the way Americans entertained themselves. Baby boom generation members Steve Oliver and Sarah Fountain and University of Georgia’s College of Journalism professor Dr. Allison Alexander describe life before television when they played outside, read books, listened to the radio, or played board games. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta contends that without television, the Civil Rights Movement would have been like a bird without wings. Barry Sherman, in the University of Georgia’s College of Journalism, notes that television made the Vietnam War more personal.
Dr. Charles Floyd, a University of Georgia economist, notes the early history of roads in Georgia. Ludowici residents Harry Chapman, Mrs. Virgil Nail, Sammy Stapleton, and Robert Watford Mary Worth discuss the impact of the new highways systems on small Georgia towns. Two trucking firm owners discuss how vital the industry is to Georgia’s economy. Most everything we buy and use today is delivered by truck.
Metter farmer Bill Lanier tells about his experiences of life on the farm before great technological changes came to Georgia. Dr. Craig Kvien, an agricultural scientist at the University of Georgia, explains how GPS has impacted the farming economy. Fourth and fifth generation Early County farmers W. P. Smith and his son Tony discuss the efficiencies brought to farming with new technologies. Finally, Mike Newberry, another Early County farmer, contends that the average person would be surprised at the amount of technology used in farming today and the unlimited potential for improvements in the future.
Bobs Candies, an Albany company founded by Bob McCormack in 1919, is the largest manufacturer of striped candy in the world. McCormack was the first manufacturer to wrap his candy in cellophane. In the 1950s, McCormack's brother-in-law, Father Gregory Keller, invented a machine to twist the candy and bend it into a cane. The Keller machine revolutionized the business and created a new industry–the commercial manufacture of candy canes. McCormack's grandchildren comment about working at the factory.
Special events such as sporting events, conventions, and even the Summer Olympics can bring lots of money into the state and the host community. Spurgeon Richardson, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, lists ways people spend money at a special event.
Georgia has been a hotbed of musical talent and it brings in $600 million per year. Tommie Storms, director of music entertainment at the Art Institute of Atlanta, talks about the what makes the state so attractive to the music industry.
Kathleen Donohue, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte historian, states that in the 1950s and 1960s a woman’s primary role was that of wife and mother. Times have changed as discussed by four Georgia women who have been friends since high school. Today, women have the freedom and opportunity to choose both careers and family. Julie Culwell and Cynthia Jones also talk about their careers and the changing roles of women in the workforce.
Today’s teen is twice as likely to get a job as a teenager in the 1950s. Back then young people were primarily concerned with school, sports, and having fun. Sprayberry High School Principal Paul Ross recalls his high school days and remembers that only a few classmates had jobs. Now, more than 5 million teenagers between the ages of 12-17 work voluntarily for pay. Principal Ross worries that school work suffers when teenagers work long hours.
High school dropouts in the 1950s were able to support themselves and their families, but that is not true today. Technological changes have made jobs more complex and low skill jobs have almost disappeared. Dr. Robert Hughes, the deputy director of the Youth Challenge Program, says that low skill jobs are entry level jobs. As the job market has shrunk, more former students are returning to get their GEDs. Mary Smith, a 41-year-old GED seeker, acknowledges how tough it is to go back to school.
On any given day at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, more than 2,200 flights take off and land, traveling to 150 destinations in the United States, and 30 cities in 17 countries around the world. University of Georgia economist Charles Floyd notes that most people are passing through Atlanta are on their way to somewhere else. Angela Gittens, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, observes that the transportation of people and goods is the essence of commerce.
John Johnson, Director of Interpretation and Education at the Agrirama in Tifton, explains the economic impact of going from one person able to seed one pound of cotton a day to Eli Whitney's cotton gin seeding 50 pounds of cotton a day. Dr. Jerry DeVine of Albany State College notes that the increase in cotton production saw a parallel increase in slavery. Slaves and land were the two greatest forms of wealth in Georgia, with more money invested in slaves than land.
Savannah tour guide Ogbanna explains the Underground Railroad and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, established in 1773. Murry Dorty of the Coastal Heritage Society explains how songs had hidden meanings to help and inspire runaways along the way.
John Johnson at the Georgia Agrirama recounts how important agriculture is to Georgia. At one time most Georgians lived on farms. In the early 1900s when compulsory school attendance was first required by law, families still needed children to help with the necessary farm work in the spring. School calendars were set to accommodate that need. Students and farmworkers demonstrate the challenges of farm life during turn of the century Georgia.
Professor John Lupold of Columbus College describes the forces leading to the urbanization of Georgia, while retired textile mill workers Lee Manly, Jeannette Scales, and Charlie Stafford explain what it was like to work in Georgia's mills. In the early 1900s, there were no Georgia laws prohibiting child labor, a situation that coincided with the rise of the textile industry.
Dan Carter, a historian at Emory University, explains how the stock market crash triggered the Great Depression and led to a downward economic spiral of factories and banks closing, job losses, and no money for food, clothing, or any of life’s necessities. Wilkes County resident Russell Slayton and his daughter Betty discuss life in Georgia in those days, along with Mabel Johnson, who was a young girl at the time. Carter reports that conditions began to improve with the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. Many New Deal programs came to Georgia and gave people a boost.
Three Georgia women performed very different jobs during World War II and represent the various roles of women in wartime. Pat Barrett of Norcross, worked at Bell Aircraft Company in Marietta--a true Rosie the Riveter. Creola Barnes Belton of St. Simons Island became a domestic worker in order to attend nursing school, eventually becoming an Army nurse. Helen Kogel Denton of Riverdale joined the Women’s Army Corps and found herself stationed in London and working for Gen. Dwight Eisenhower.
Sue Ellen Mears, with the DeKalb Historical Society, comments on Atlanta's change from rural to urban through the lens of Bill Suits, owner of A to Z Salvage in Decatur, who wished to bring Rufus, his 7 month-old, 50 pound potbellied pig to work.
Atlanta has come a long way since it was a quiet little town called Terminus. Today, it has become the entertainment capital of the South. From music to museums, there are literally thousands of things for locals and visitors to do.
According to David Schaller of the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia products travel and are used around the world. Ships bring in containers loaded with goods from blue jeans to televisions. Author Rusty Fleetwood, and John Duncan of Armstrong State University discuss Georgia’s earliest exports when Savannah was international port city since the days of the Georgia colony. Kirk Johnston, a reenactor with the Charles Town Landing State Park, explains how mercantilism made Great Britain a rich nation.
Kirk Johnston, a Charles Town Landing State Park reenactor, discusses a replica 17th century sailing vessel and describes how saltwater, wind, and sun took a toll on wooden ships. In the late 1800s, the naval stores industry, byproducts of pine trees, grew to become a major Georgia export. John Johnson of the Agrirama and James Gainer, a naval stores worker for more than 30 years, explain how pine resin is collected, some of the products early Scottish colonists made with it and how colonists came from around the South to work in Georgia's budding pine industry.
According to Dennis Sodomka, executive editor for The Augusta Chronicle, his paper is a descendant of the original Georgia newspaper from 1763: The Georgia Gazette. He discusses how a newspaper can make a difference in a community and help make democracy work by giving people the information they need to make informed decisions. In colonial days, the king forbade Georgia colonists to publish a newspaper for the first 30 years of its existence. Instead, people relied on news from traveling visitors, friends, and through letters and newspapers from other places.