In the Industrial Revolution, men with ambition, initiative and often greed developed companies and built factories. They were an integral part in the creation of products that changed the world. They became extremely wealthy often times at the expense of workers who worked upwards of sixteen hours days under dangerous conditions for little pay. Innovation defined the societies of Europe and the United States, but so did class differences.
These class differences are still present today. In the United States, movements on the far right in the name of the Tea Party and on the far left in the name of Occupy Wall Street have emerged. While their methods are vastly different, their complaint is the same—They blame the elite (top 1%) of society for the problems in the United States today.
Which approach do you think is the best way to handle the growing tension between classes?
Are you a capitalist tried and true? Do you think that the economy thrives on competition? Do you subscribe to Adam Smith’s theory that an invisible hand guides a mutually beneficial exchange of goods in a free market? Do you believe that government regulation of the economy would severely damage it?
Or, are you in favor of trade unions? Do you believe that workers should be able to organize to express their grievances against their employer? Do you believe that workers should be able to strike for higher wages and improved working conditions?
On the other hand, are you a utopian socialist like Robert Owen? Do favor an economic system that favors cooperation over competition? Do favor a system where the government owns and controls parts of the economy and distributes the wealth equally among the people?
Are you a communist? Do you subscribe to the ideas of Karl Marx who says that society is “more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie (middle class) and Proletariat (workers).” Do you believe that class differences will one day become so intense that the workers will violently overthrow the wealthy and form a classless society?
Or, are you a social democrat? Do you believe that Congress should pass bills providing services to protect workers?
Defend your ideas about how society should handle class conflict with evidence. Your response should be at least 400 words. This blog post is due Monday, October 10 @ midnight