Production and Consumption in the Gilded Age

Published: 2019-10-31 07:30:00
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The gilded age is one that was filled with the rise of industrialization across America. This period was characterized by the rise of industry and the triumphant entry of the business class in society. The initial small businesses managed by home owners were transformed to large corporations with the dawn of the century. Corporations moved towards mass production of commodities that served the American and international markets. The mass production called for the mechanization of production, the development of transportation infrastructure i.e. rail and road networks which were used to ferry raw materials into the factories and distributing the finished products. There was a huge demand for both skilled and unskilled labor. Unskilled laborers mostly worked for long hours with a low wage rate. The health sector is one that also developed due to increased injury rates of workers in industries, mines, transportation and other service industries that were developing.

The gospel of wealth was one that was synonymous with the new business leaders. Through concepts of social Darwinism, the weak suffered the most. Many of the factory workers became dependent on their work at the factories. Contrary to the concept of gospel of wealth which insists on the enjoyment of wealth as a show of utmost hard work and great business skills, other American philosophers thought that competence and work ethics should be the definition of success. The government on the other end had to intervene to the challenges of laborer in the factories, the introduction of the labor rights bill and wage bills saw to it that employees were well treated and were well paid. For instance, the government formulated mechanisms where health workers would report any form of harassments and discrimination at the work place. These strategies devised by the government helped in alleviating the challenges faced by not only health workers but many other individuals in different industries.

The letter by Louis F Swift in the story of Antanta Kaztaukis, tells of the horrors of how factory workers are treated by their masters in factories. The letter completely takes a pivotal stand in decrying the treatment of workers in factories. The conditions of the workers is clearly described as that one of suffering, low wages and long working hours. The letter calls for a change in the system, an improvement of the working conditions at the factories and the increase of the wage rate for employees. It is important to understand that not so many people agreed to the way any of the business leaders of the day treated factory workers. However there was a need for jobs, there needed to a control mechanism that would help balance the demand and supply of labor in America.

The Congress took upon itself to develop a corrective measure that would aid in the emancipation of workers from poor working conditions through the formation of Unions such as the American Federation of Labor that saw to the unionization of workers. These organizations called for the increase in wages and the development of sub groups of the union that helped to address the problems of the workers. Another rising factor is consumerism; this particularly was enjoyed by the wealthy business men who owned palatial homes, yachts, country clubs and extravagant dinner parties. Production and consumption were synonymous to them as they managed to generate profits from their businesses at the expense of lowly paid workers

sheldon

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