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ISS_225_Lec_3_Ideology

The united states has the weakest tradition of

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The United States has the weakest tradition of socialism. For most of American history, socialism was not an accurate reflection of social circumstances. The American Dream allowed for individual economic & social mobility, property ownership was easy & common, individualism was strong (community-based ideologies weak) working against the development of socialism, and the Cold War rhetoric made socialist ideas unpopular. Socialism had its strongest influence in the United States in the early 1900's. During this time there was massive industrialization often resulting in the exploitation of recent 6
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Power, Authority, and Exchange – ISS 225 Ideology immigrant workers, such as low pay, long hours, dangerous working conditions, and child labor. Furthermore, there was little governmental involvement in economy, such as regulation of industry, worker protections, or unions. When the Great Depression came, the poor became even poorer. Socialism offered a solution. Government could solve these problems through regulation, involvement, and ownership. I n1920 the Socialist Party candidate, Eugene Debs, managed to get 3.5% of the vote for president while in prison. Milwaukee had socialist mayor in 1920's. Socialism’s base of support was the urban workers. By the 1930s government responded with the New Deal programs, which represented steps to socialism. Many socialists believed that they didn't go far enough. They wanted universal healthcare and guaranteed minimum income. FDR was basically co-opting socialist issue positions. He was using government as buffer against the excesses of capitalism. The minor socialist trend in the United States stopped with WWII as the economy took off, the former working class had upward mobility, unions developed, and the GI Bill made college accessible. Furthermore, the Cold War made any ideas about socialism very unpopular. D. Modern Socialism emphasizes three things 1. A positive view of government functions. Government has a legitimate role in any area of life, but especially focused on economic conditions. Government should become involved in things like healthcare, transportation, education, culture, welfare benefits. Most countries’ governments give more generous social benefits than the United States. See for example http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-26-maternity-leave_x.htm for a comparison of medical leave policies. Government should ensure "equality of life chances" for all citizens. This includes a government commitment to provide whatever is necessary to help that person become participating member of society with the knowledge that some will require more than others. 2. Government should be involved in the distribution of goods based upon human need. Inequalities are unjust. Those with the most should give the most, those who need the
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The United States has the weakest tradition of socialism...

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