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Avarice In America Essay, Research Paper

Avarice In America

When the topic of American economics arises, the infamous Robber Barons of the 19th Century often springs to mind. They are often glorified as “Captains of Industry” for their money making strategies and enterprising methods. Those who hold this view probably do not know the evils of the laissez-faire capitalism in which the Robber Barons believed and participated. They wanted an unrestricted system of economics so that they could amass as much money as they could to out do each other and control the power in society. They were not as glorious and generous as some people make them out to have been.

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.

It is often said that money is the root of all evil. The Robber Barons of the late 19th century proved this theory without fail. They showed that greed can overtake morals if the conditions are right. It

is very evident that the Robber Barons had no qualms about ruining the lives of the people that worked for them and of society in general. The only good to come of their despicable actions were the laws that regulated big business because the owners, devoid of decency, could not control themselves. The working class will never be allowed to collapse, however, because the upper class needs them. Still, the upper class continues to oppress the working class in order to elevate itself further until the working class fights back. Thus, as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto, “The bourgeoisie itself furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.”

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