Prior to the 20th century the United States of America was regarded as an agrarian society in which agriculture was the prime means for support and sustenance. There were a large number of diversified farms in rural areas with over half the population living and working in these labour intensive regions. However, the turn of the century saw rural life undergo a tremendous transformation from agrarian simplicity to industrial complexity. These changes resulted due to an acceleration of technological and manufacturing advances never achieved before and this ultimately drew people towards urban industrial areas. (American accountancy, an overview).
The corporate form now dominated American industry in which ‘’over seventy percent of those working in manufacturing were employed by corporations’’ (previts, 1979, pg 127). A large percentage of the country’s economic resources were being controlled by a small number of individuals who managed the industrial trusts, and this consolidation of industry led to a re-examination of the relevance of existing economic and social philosophies in relation to a corporate society.
In previous decades Americans had accepted the notion that the interests of society and the private entrepreneur could both be promoted by permitting a maximum amount of freedom to the individual. (Cochran 1967). The idea behind this being that public good is automatically derived when a capitalist strives to further their own interests. This is evident through (previts, 1929, pg 127) in which he states ‘‘commerce had been the world civilizer’’. Therefore in an independent competitive market it was deemed that the ‘the invisible hand’ was the most efficient way of allocating the societies resources. This resulted in the government taking a very passive role, believing that competition ensured protection for the public.
However, the rise of big business in United... [continues]
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