Filmmaker and anti-helmet Fashionista extraordinaire, Mikael Colville-Andersen, dug up this Depression-era cartoon, encouraging people to buy, buy, buy, as a way of stimulating the American economy with more “circulating dollars.”
That cartoon is truer now than it was when it was originally published.
The irony is that just before the Great Depression, only about half of American families owned automobiles. The New Deal, which helped to stimulate the economy into recovery, provided ten times more funding for roads than for public transit. Government policy helped to cement the psychological link between national prosperity and car ownership.
At the time, the real encouragement was to buy cars, among other consumer products. The bicycle in this cartoon was only a metaphor.
I don’t think it’s a metaphor anymore.