Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States Essay

1233 Words 5 Pages
The interplay and relationship between Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States typify the nation's struggle to make the best of a capitalist society, while at the same time correcting pitfalls. Social Darwinism in our capitalist society compares wealth with fitness, but historically, unregulated markets given the false sanction of natural law have proven out that Darwinist economic competition has a destructive side for society. The role of raw power, the frequency of failure and the spirit of want has out of necessity, fostered a fiscal and monetary policy defined as social welfare, in order to conserve some commitment and core of resistance to the corrosive impact of market power on the nation's social bonds. Social …show more content…
76). The rise of labor, according to sociologist, and anthropologist Patricia Cayo Sexton, was largely in response to the pressures imposed upon workers by entrepreneurs capitalizing on the Industrial Revolution. The latter lobbied heavily against a social welfare state on the premise that it violated the concepts of Social Darwinism and of capitalist laissez faire. As Sexton notes, the mood of the day permeated throughout American ideology, even in the justice system. "The law upheld hostile employer acts but punished those of labor; according to historian Irving Bernstein, no other advanced nation in the world had conducted industrial relations with 'such defiance' . . . " (Sexton, 1991, p. 73) Herein lay the conflict of pure Social Darwinism. The struggle was the law of life, in the financial markets as Darwin's biological pool. Men fed upon men; The fittest survived and the weak were their rightful prey. At the post Civil war height of laissez faire, the most greedy robber barons invoked Social Darwinism to collect hundreds of millions of dollars, benefitting from what many considered unfair advantages. In fact, a recent ranking of the forty wealthiest Americans of all time shows that only three of them did not make their fortunes during the Industrial Revolution (Klepper, Gunther, 1998, p. 56). By the

Related Documents