In the late nineteenth century known as the Gilded Age (or the Reconstruction period) and the early twentieth century known as the Progressive era, the nation went through great economic growth and social change. Beginning from the 1870s, there was rapid growth in innovations and big businesses. This could be because there was population growth and when there is population growth, there is a high demand of products and other necessities in order to strive in society. Many immigrants from Europe, mostly from the eastern and southern Europe, and Asia moved to American cities. Additionally, farmers from rural America desired to increase economically in society and since corporations ruled and political problems occurred, they decided to move into the cities. Afterwards, the 1900s started with the dominance of progressivism which many Americans tried to improve and solve the problems that were caused or had arisen because of the industrialization of the Gilded Age. It was basically the time when progressives fought for legislations like regulation of big businesses, end of the political corruption, and protection of the rights of the people: the poor, immigrants, workers, and consumers. Thus, between the periods 1870 to 1920, big businesses had arisen and taken control of the political and economic systems through corruption and innovations. In response, American citizens reacted negatively and formed labor unions and political systems to diminish the power that large corporations had in America.
"What Kind of Capitalism do We' want?"
First of all, I will provide a quick overview of the evolution of capitalism since the Great Depression, which I believe is necessary in order to understand the capitalism of today and some of the problems to it. Then I will analyze four different problematic areas of free-market capitalism in the US compared with the Scandinavian government-managed capitalism. I will then discuss what kind of capitalism we want: We being different interest groups, such as the shareholders, the C.E.O.'s, the average worker and the poor. Finally I will discuss what values might be at stake in capitalism.
The evolution of capitalism
Marglin, Stephen A., and Juliet Schor. The Golden Age of Capitalism: Reinterpreting the Postwar Experience. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.
An economic and political system in which a country 's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state is known as Capitalism. Many components make up a capitalist society such as the factors of production are privately owned. The economic transactions take place in markets where buyers and sellers interacts, and many business and employees are free to pursue their own self interest. The United States is known to follow the ideals of a capitalism throughout the years but as many as 32 recessions have taken place in the last 150 years. The economy seems to be unstable and the question arises, why is capitalism so dynamic and unstable? In the novel “The Rise and fall of Neoliberal Capitalism”, David M Kotz analyzes and answers the many
In his book, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson drawing from the work of another Marxist theoretician Ernest Mandel, divides capitalism into three distinct periods post “the ‘original’ industrial revolution of the later 18th century” [emphasis in original](Jameson 35). Closely linked to the improvement in the means of production, i.e. technological development, the three stages of evolution of capitalism according to Jameson and Mandel are: ‘Market or competitive capitalism’ driven by the steam motors introduced in 1848; ‘Monopoly capitalism’ backed by the huge corporations using electric and combustion motors at the turn of 19th century; and the nuclear and electronic-powered machinery of ‘late capitalism’ that comes to fore in the wake of World War II (Jameson 35-36). Adding nuance to this last phase of late capitalism, David Harvey suggests that late capitalism and its guiding economic logic- Fordism culminates post World War II, but is able to push through for another a decade or so till it falls into crisis during the recession of 1973 (Harvey 124). This crisis of Fordism leads to the development of a more robust strain of capitalism, sometimes called postindustrial or post-Fordist. Harvey refers to this new brand of capitalism as ‘flexible accumulation’ which is characterized by a new, more global and m...
The amount of government regulation, restriction, and intervention in the economy is substantial. No free markets, and rapid innovations in technology and communications, the need for government intervention in the economy is necessary to correct abuses or to promote general welfare.
In laissez-faire capitalism, there are no restrictions on business so the enterprising capitalists were able to obtain monopolies by combining with other companies or simply buying them out. By doing this, the owners could raise the price of their goods or services to an intolerable amount so that they could gain even more money. This often put the common working people out of a job because the owners could get children and poor European and Asian immigrants to do the same menial factory jobs for pennies a day. This angered the Unions of America because their livelihood depended on the American working class. The Unions then persuaded the government to regulate the business giants and control the amount of money the companies could take in by disallowing monopolies and child labor. The "Kings of Capitalism" disregarded the impact their actions had on the lives of the working class men and their families. Many went hungry because of the lack of jobs available and were forced to go into debt to the companies that was impossible to be repaid. The Robber Barons would do almost anything to gain more money and more power even putting hard working people out of their houses.
...here people abided by acceptable and fair practices in the market, these actions and oversight would not be necessary to ensure that we continue to live in a true democracy with political equality. Milton Friedman would have his pure market economy devoid of any government intervention while Lindblom’s concerns that the policy process will be endlessly trapped by arguments about the market would be eased. Democracy would truly mean political equality and allow all those that wished to participate to do so with all the information they require.
The corruption of Capitalism in the Unites States
Often times, Americans do not realize the corruption that surrounds them in their nation. Capitalism is an economic and political system in which the country’s trade and industry is controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Business owners, CEO’s, corporations, and large businesses have the propensity of taking extreme advantage of the power capitalism brings. For decades companies and corporations have been taking unexplainable benefit of the power they have. Capitalism in the Unites States leads to corruption.
Capitalism in America
The United States has invaded, embargoed and bombed sovereign nations at the cost of several million people, all under the guise of capitalism and free trade. Whether it was the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Guatemala or the carpet bombing of North Vietnam, the defeat of communism was always the justification. Despite the best efforts of capitalist propaganda (known as the Red Scare) throughout the beginning of the Twentieth-century, how do Americans really feel about free enterprise?
Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the defeat of communism, foremost economists and financial specialists from the United States have been advising the leaders of Eastern Europe on the foundations and benefits of a free-enterprise system.