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Unformatted text preview: "The Gilded Age" Westinghouse Shop Floor, 1904 "The Gilded Age" (18651900) Industrial Growth (18651900)
Steam Turbines, 1876 Bessemer Steel Converter, c. 1880 Strong Labor Ideology: Producerism Questions for HIST1302 What changed in the American economy to allow for so much growth? How did these changes affect American society? Our values? Our notions of economic independence? Which pressures affected laborers? Which affected capitalists? Dependency and Control Accommodation and Resistance "The Second Industrial Revolution" U.S. Population Triples Farm Production Doubles Manufacturing Production increases 6x Science moves ahead of technology Rise of: Modern Corporations Modern Unions Federal Industrial Policy 1st and 2nd Morrill Tariffs National Banking Act (1863) Pacific Railroad Act (1862) Steel Production, c. 1900 Railroads Demand for materials "Multiplier Effect" New Technologies developed or expanded 90%+ of all Iron/Steel Growth in demand for copper (7x), oil (3x), coal (3x) Electronics Telegraph Workers Managers Social changes Concentration of capital Multiplier Effect and the Rise of Big Business
Old firms needed thousands New ones need millions bonds, stocks Cost Accounting, P/L, Cash Flow National market coordination Mass Production Management Lower cost Eliminate or collude with competition As "Organized Capital" gets stronger, "Organized Labor" gets weaker. Why such rising Depndency? 1. The move from farm to factory work. Factors of Rising Dependency
2. Rise of wagebased (hourly) labor. Factors of Rising Dependency
3. Growth of cities and urban industrialization. Factors of Rising Dependency
4. Immigration Dependency and Control? Three key populations: Skilled Labor Unskilled Labor Capitalists Reaction: Skilled Labor Skilled Labor <20% work force; nativeborn or western European immigrants Formed "Craft Unions" "Stint" Protect skills, avoid mechanization Retain control over production Proud producers Reject any alliance with "operatives" unskilled or semiskilled Reaction: Unskilled Labor Coal Mine Breaker Boys Women, children, immigrants Unskilled Labor Easy to replace People of color? No access to manuf. jobs No leverage for higher wages, better conditions "Industrial Unions" crossed too many "traditional" barriers Race, ethnicity, gender, age Industrial Unions considered either illegal or too radical by many (or worse, they considered Industrial unions part of socialist or communist agenda) Issues Unifying All Labor Limit Child and Immigrant Labor Safety Westinghouse Air Brakes Rev. Lyman Abbot: "So long as brakes cost more than trainmen we may expect the present sacrificial method of car coupling to continue" 30,000 injured or killed in 1881 alone! "8 Hours for work, 8 hours for sleep 8 hours for what we will" Unifying Issues Wages Class Consciousness "Why no Socialism in the U.S.?" Producerism Humanity of workers Modern Times (1936) Modern Times (1936) Conclusions for GA Workers Issues of Dependency and Control at the heart of why and how workers respond to GA economy Class consciousness weak; workers divided by skill, gender, race, and ethnicity What about politics? Unions? Response by capitalists? Ideology "weak" when compared to "Social Darwinism" "Captains of Industry" Total Value Pictured: ~$4B "American Royalty" "Robber Barons" "Corporate power is a new power for which our language has no name. We know what aristocracy, autocracy, and democracy are; but we have no word to express government by monied corporations" Charles Francis Adams Control via the "Corporation" 1. Pools, Cartels, and other non binding agreements 2. Vertical Integration Horizontal Integration Doesn't work Modern Corporation formed Trusts
Middle managers Stockholders Problems Capitalists agree to regional oligarchies Unfair pricing and business tactics leads to Monopoly Competition lowers prices, drives many out of business John D. Rockefeller John Rockefeller & Standard Oil
Rockefeller's biographer wrote: "To have highvolume, low-cost production, the Standard needed huge guaranteed sales. This forced Rockefeller to integrate vertically the entire industry, controlling everything from the wellhead to the consumer." But his competitors thought otherwise: "Every manufacturer in the state existed by [Standard Oil] violence and lived by his discrimination.... By secret rates and deceiving his competitors as to what their rates actually were and by evading all laws of trade these manufacturers exist." Chancey Depew, 1887 Rockefeller was a philanthropist of a type not known today And yet...(noblesse oblige) "As his fortune grew big enough to beggar imagination, John D. retained faith that God had given him money for mankind's benefit. Rockefeller regarded his fortune as a public trust, not as a private indulgence." "What makes him problematic and why he continues to inspire ambivalent reactions is that his good side was every bit as good as his bad side was bad. Seldom has history produced such a contradictory figure." From Ron Chernow, biographer of Rockefeller (Titan, 1998) Control via Scientific Management Use technology for control Frederick Winslow Taylor Conclusions for GA Capitalists Capitalists subject to same pressures of dependency and control as workers Rising mechanization increases production, lowers prices, and shifts economy toward consumers Most efforts at control do not work; certainly not for the long run Role of Politics? Response by labor? Access to concentrated capital makes their response more potent ...
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- Spring '08