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... tter. Statistics show that the American economy on the whole flourished during the Guide and Industrial Age (91). "In the fifty years between the eight consensus and the twelfth consensus, taken in 1860 and 1910 respectively, the country's population soared from 31. 5 million to 92. 4 million, an increase of almost three times. During these same years the GNP, representing the dollar value of all the goods and services produced each year, leaped from about $ 7 billion to over $ 35 billion. This meant an average increase of in output from $ 150 to about $ 380 for every adult and child in the nation" (Burner 411). These statistics point to economic gains of colossal proportions.
Goods produced made up for job layoffs as the US economy became, like a machine, more industrialized each day. All of the key components were in place to have a thriving economy. Investment bankers also stepped in and became powerful. J.
P. Morgan is a prime example of not only economic success, but also how the rich gave back to society. Although the rich of the time (such as Rockafeller, Carnegie, and Morgan) seemed detached from the rest of society and appeared to be dominant, they actually contributed more than they took. "While the stereotype contains much truth, it overlooks a redeeming aspect of that opulent time: our harshest industrial overlords proved our most enlightened philanthropists. The lives of John D. Rockafeller and Andrew Carnegie, tough men from hardscrabble backgrounds who lacked college education, furnish rich lessons for would-be benefactors.
They transcended the sentiment and haphazard methods of Victorian charity, substituting the rigor of modern philanthropy. Instead of sponsoring another hospital or museum wing, Carnegie and Rockafeller promoted ideas" (Chernow 103). It is clear that the rich of the time were elevated to another level, however these men never lost sight of society no matter how high they got. The time of rising large businesses had arrived in force and brought with it newfound economic gains. The industrialization and guide age were characterized by abuses through American society, which were not the fault of the system, but the fault of the people. It is common knowledge that the time of Carnegie, Rockafeller and Morgan was marked by extreme wealth of the upper class.
Corporation, as illustrated, was a new and thriving force and many individuals were simply taking advantage of the opportunity that frequently passed their way. In many cases the advantages taken were excessive and it is for this that abuses in the national economy were the fault of the bosses and entrepreneurs. Granted, all individuals were adjusting to the new system of economy, however the blame must be laid somewhere. The rich were living a life of flamboyancy during the early twentieth century. Andrew Carnegie's annual income was nearly twenty five million dollars whereas many of his laborers and employees made a mere four hundred and seventeen dollars per year on average (Allen 24). The rich were also mentally incapable of even dreaming of being poor.
The lives they lived were so extravagant that it was often easy to lose oneself in upper class society and neglect the lower class without a thought. "If Rockafeller's own house was not a palace, it was one of more than seventy-five buildings on his estate; if he himself used one car for fifteen years, the garage on the estate was built to hold a fleet of fifty. Within his estate there were seventy miles of private roads on which he could take his afternoon drive; a private golf links on which he could play his morning game; and anywhere from a thousand to fifteen hundred employees, depending on the season" (Allen 30). Hundreds of entrepreneurs lived in similar lavishness. During a time of private interest such conditions were natural, however in this particular case the effects of privately interested classes were amplified due to the state of government. The government at the time was practicing a laissez faire attitude, which ultimately meant that they would not interfere with business matters and basically allow the cycle to occur. The aristocracy took advantage of this ideology of government and also thrived without the burden of income taxes.
The more advantages the aristocracy took, the greater the gap between rich and poor grew. The social abuses used by the rich against the poor created an unstable, yet prosperous economy. It is irrefutable that technological advances and success had created perhaps the richest economy to date- rich not just monetarily however, but also rich with ideas and knowledge. All of this wealth came at the price of abuses, however. The biggest categorization of these abuses was namely exploitation. The rich were so detached from the poor mentally, economically, and socially that they could not even fathom the injustices that they were causing.
Working conditions and wage labor were at all-time lows. "About the same time a New York newspaper surveyed the unemployed and the poor of the city and found 150, 000 persons were out of work. Another 150, 000 earned less than 60 cents per day, many of them girls who worked eleven to sixteen hours daily. During the course of the year over 23, 000 families were evicted from their homes because they could not pay the rent" (Meltzer 51). American society at the time was really a coin with two very opposite sides. Working conditions were perhaps the most apparent sign of exploitation. Never before had employers and entrepreneurs acted with such disregard for the laborer. "There were men who worked in the cooking rooms, in the midst of steam and sickening odors, by artificial light; in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years, but the supply was renewed every hour.
There were the beef luggers, who carried two-hundred pound quarters into the refrigerator cars, a fearful kind of work, that began at four o'clock in the morning, and that wore out the most powerful men in a few years" (Sinclair 101). The gap between rich and poor had grown so big, in fact that bosses only cared about success, and not the means necessary to achieve success. By allowing...
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